There is no doubt that technology has led to major advances in healthcare, but most people would be literally overwhelmed to realize just how many advances have been made in recent years and how they have improved healthcare all the way around. Whether you are in the healthcare industry at some level or a patient trying to understand some of the technology your provider is using, the following advancements in the entire field of healthcare have done much to elevate outcomes, giving patients a much better quality of life. Let’s explore just four of the ways in which advances in technology have made major improvements across the entire industry.
1. Digitalization of Healthcare Records
Do you remember a time when you would walk into a doctor’s office only to see shelves upon shelves of manilla folders behind the receptionist’s desk? You’d check in for your appointment but lo and behold, your file isn’t where it should be. That often led to an extra half hour or longer while your chart was located before you could even be brought back to have your vitals taken by the office nurse.
Now, all doctors are using Electronic Health Records (EHRs) or Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) that make finding your chart possible within nanoseconds. Bear in mind that a chart by any other name is still a chart and the only difference now is that all are in digital format. The moment your identifying patient information is logged onto the system, that chart can be pulled up.
Patients can also access their records from home, make and check appointments, send secure messages to their doctors and so much more. Do you need documentation of your Covid vaccination and booster dates? What about pneumonia vaccinations, annual flu shots and any other records that must be kept and made available on demand. How much faster and easier is that than seeking a manilla file that seemed to have sprouted legs and disappeared?
2. Medical Devices
There is a long list of medical devices only available today because of advances in technology. Among them are such things as prosthetic limbs, pacemakers and even hearing aids that have evolved beyond anything imaginable just a generation ago. Today’s hearing aids provide crystal clear sound, have noise reduction features to filter out background noise and can be worn in several ways, making them imperceptible to the naked eye.
Sometimes it is possible for healthcare professionals to form a partnership with various distributors so that they can get their patients fitted efficiently and quickly. A good example of partnering with medical device distributors would be something like you can find on www.phonak.com/en-us/professionals/become-a-partner. These kinds of partnerships enable you to get medical devices quickly to patients you are serving while knowing you are providing the latest technology for better outcomes.
Thankfully, telemedicine was widely available during the height of the Covid-19 global pandemic. It was especially useful in the days prior to the approval of vaccines and at times when patients were advised to stay at home unless it was a medical emergency.
There are several really great platforms that make it possible to have an appointment with your doctor without ever leaving the home. Telemedicine is all about having a virtual appointment where the ‘office visit’ is a video communication with a patient’s doctor.
Even today when the scare of Covid is only lingering in the shadows, a greater number of ‘visits’ with providers are now being handled via telemedicine. Not only does it make it faster and easier to be ‘seen’ by your provider, but it’s a whole lot less expensive for everyone involved.
There are several types of wearables on the market that can help patients track certain biometrics. Among the leading wearables on the market today are such things as Smart watches and fitness trackers like Fitbit. These can help patients log how many steps they are taking, such things as heart rate and oxygen levels in the blood stream, but they aren’t the types of wearables that can be prescribed and monitored by healthcare providers.
In recent years, technology has advanced to such a degree that wearables now link directly with a patient’s doctor to send an alert if anything in that patient’s biometrics are in the danger zone. Many doctors really do monitor patients remotely, especially those in most danger of cardiac events or diabetic shock.
Many are even prescribed to detect inconsistencies in sleep/wake cycles that are indicative of any number of health-related concerns. These aren’t often used for durations longer than a single night, but it is only through advances in technology that these are even possible. There is no more second guessing on the part of the patient because the device immediately informs the physician who then, in turn, makes the call on whether or not to send that patient to the nearest ER.
Technology to the Rescue
When all is said and done, technology can make it possible for doctors to significantly increase their caseloads so that no patient ever needs to go without medical supervision. So then, if you have any doubts as to how technology has improved healthcare, they should be dispelled by now. In the end, it’s technology to the rescue.