In the past decade, technology has been the primary catalyst for evolutionary transformations in the healthcare industry. Whether it’s for improving patient care or easing a medical professional’s responsibilities, you can no longer ignore its impact on public health.
Although every industry has highly benefited from technology, healthcare has probably made the most progress. Thanks to recent modernizations and digital tools, many aspects of medicine that were once unapproachable are now making significant breakthroughs. Today, scientists, researchers, engineers, and physicians are working together to modernize healthcare with more extensive knowledge and effective tools.
Despite this progress, many worry about technology’s consequences on society, but it’s essential to realize that technology is here to stay, and no one can stop it from evolving. So, the only way forward for medicine and healthcare providers is to embrace these changes as they come. By collaborating with tech, you can improvise everyday practices to integrate these tools, providing efficient care and easing the healthcare burden within communities.
There are several ways in which tech has revolutionized medicine in recent years. Here, we look at the five most impactful innovations so far.
- Availability of real-time patient data
Doctors need reliable data to provide efficient care to their patients. This data comes from conducting pathology tests, such as blood, urine, or stool tests, to diagnose, treat, and monitor health progress. In the case of severe diseases like cancer, doctors collaborate with anatomic pathologists who evaluate tissue specimens.
For ease of access, digitalized tools have integrated these various healthcare parameters onto a single platform known as a laboratory information system or LIS. A comprehensive cloud-based LIS can easily meet the needs of modern laboratories and facilitate anatomical data collection. For example, the pathology information system from NovoPath is an award-winning Laboratory Information System that streamlines molecular and anatomic workflows, provides flexible scalability on demand, and is accessible from anywhere in the world.
With medical data readily available in a particular facility, patients are more likely to receive treatment without delays. For example, the recent pandemic required health workers to make quick and critical decisions based on a patient’s molecular tests and clinical parameters. By accessing their facility’s LIS, they managed the disease better and improved the prognosis.
- Better access to healthcare facilities
Millions of people worldwide have poor access to primary healthcare resources for various reasons. This lack of access is the leading cause of prevailing chronic illnesses that burden a country’s economy. For example, individuals living in rural or remote areas often require medical assistance, but the closest healthcare facility is miles away. Since most physicians and specialists choose to work in populated areas and cities, the rural population is left vulnerable and ends up developing life-long diseases. However, using technological tools and software, telemedicine can quickly solve this problem.
Telemedicine is an emerging field in healthcare that enables patients, primarily those in remote areas, to consult practitioners via video conferencing, messaging, calls or computers. This two-way communication between doctors and patients has significantly contributed to controlling infectious disease transmission. Additionally, using electronic mediums to raise public health awareness has drastically dropped the disease ratio and contributed to a more healthy population worldwide.
- Genomic sequencing
In 2003, the Human Genome Project reached its completion. This achievement was one of the most incredible triumphs in scientific history, opening an entirely new avenue of medical research and innovation. With the availability of the human genetic code, helpful insights into how the disease develops, patients react to drugs, and treatments for otherwise incurable illnesses became accessible. More importantly, medical professionals can more easily identify patients at risk of acquiring particular health concerns. With this knowledge, people can take a proactive approach and make lifestyle changes to prevent these disorders from developing in the first place. This strategy can save millions of dollars in healthcare costs and avoid prolonged hospital stays.
- Wearable smart medical devices
Technological advancements have helped engineers and healthcare providers to work together in developing various wearable smart medical devices. Their specific design and software aim to monitor patient vitals to enable the management of illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory problems. These keep track and maintain records of an individual’s sugar levels, blood pressure, pulse rate, and oxygen levels that a doctor can consult to study disease prognosis. Some of these devices are also beneficial in setting reminders for medication, exercise, and proper diet intake to ensure a patient’s health is not compromised.
A few examples of these medical devices include:
- Fitness trackers
- Smart health watches
- Blood pressure monitors
- EMG devices
These devices support the movement of people with cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders. These wearable is safe, non-invasive, and easy to wear. It has been shown in studies that these wearable SR devices help patients with cerebral palsy and other neurological conditions to move more freely. These wearables are secure, non-intrusive, and simple to use.
- Development of personalized medicines
One of the most significant transformations in the healthcare industry is the shift from prescribing general therapeutics to personalized medicines. Until the past few decades, treatment programs primarily took a “one-size fits all” approach. Clinical trials ensure a drug is safe and effective for all demographics and populations before receiving final FDA approval. However, modern medical research sheds light on how every individual responds differently to the same treatment regimen. Due to varying biological and environmental factors, all patients can no longer achieve the same level of remission. Therefore, researchers design drugs based on each patient’s unique characteristics and genetic makeup to improve their effectiveness.
Personalized medicine or precision medicine approach is revolutionizing the world of pharmacology. This strategy guarantees treatment efficiency and ensures patients receive barely any adverse effects from prescribed medication.
Technology has played a pivotal role in transforming the healthcare sector. The ways are countless, from integrating multiple medical tools on one platform to personalizing treatments and improving access to primary care. This transformation will only likely go up as new advancements come to light. And so, as long as healthcare providers and relevant medical companies stay open to embracing new ideas, there’s no limit to how far technology can take the industry.