Today’s digital advancement has permeated nearly every facet of our lives, from how we communicate to how we shop and even how we manage our health. In this relentless march toward a tech-driven future, the field of orthopedic care stands on the precipice of profound transformation.
There are tons of advancements in the orthopedic field we’ve seen. Virtual consultations, wearable devices, artificial intelligence aiding in diagnosis, and personalized treatment plans are becoming more and more mainstream. In this article, we’ll dive into the possibilities that lie ahead and explore the potential for a healthier, tech-infused future.
#1. Real-Time Virtual Consultation
Gone are the days when you had to leave the house and rush to the orthopedic’s office for a sudden night arm pain or just for every little orthopedic concern. Digital health brings the convenience of virtual consultations right to your fingertips.
You can now connect with orthopedic specialists through video calls in real-time, saving time and eliminating the need for unnecessary travel. It comes as no surprise that the statistics show that virtual consultations increased from 6% (2019) to 67% (2020).
This not only benefits those in remote areas but also opens up opportunities for more frequent and efficient follow-up appointments, improving overall patient-provider communication.
#2. Wearable Devices for Monitoring
Who would have thought your fitness tracker could play a role in orthopedic care? From suggesting specific exercises to tracking the success of rehabilitation, wearable devices are changing the game in orthopedics. In fact, at least 20% of patients with orthopedic surgery trauma use wearable technology as part of their daily practice.
With the integration of wearable devices, patients can easily monitor their movement patterns, exercise routines, and even the healing progress of injuries. These devices provide valuable data that orthopedic providers can use to tailor personalized treatment plans for their patients.
#3. Artificial Intelligence for Diagnosis
Artificial intelligence has been the talk of the town these past few years. Their algorithms are being developed to analyze medical images, such as X-rays and MRI scans, with incredible accuracy.
By assisting orthopedic providers in detecting subtle abnormalities and potential issues, AI can speed up diagnosis and enable early intervention. This translates to a lot faster, more accurate assessments, leading to improved outcomes for patients.
One thing to bear in mind here, though, is that AI should be used as a tool– therefore, it should be used as a standalone resource for decision-making. Doctors and healthcare professionals still play a vital role in the diagnostic process.
A study showed that in 14 finally included studies, the accuracy of diagnosis for hip fracture by AI was 79.3-98%. Meanwhile, the accuracy of fracture diagnosis in AI-aided humans was 90.5-97.1%. That means combining real human expertise with AI insights is the most effective way for orthopedic professionals to make well-informed decisions.
#4. Personalized Treatment Plans
When it comes to healthcare providers in general, one size doesn’t fit all. The integration of advanced technologies allows orthopedic providers to create personalized treatment plans based on an individual’s unique condition, lifestyle, and preferences.
From customizing rehabilitation exercises to suggesting the most suitable medical interventions, this tailored approach promises better adherence, happier patient, and, ultimately, more successful recoveries.
#5. Enhanced Patient Engagement
Digital health fosters a closer relationship between patients and their orthopedic providers. With access to health apps and online platforms, patients become more engaged in their care journey. They can get access to tracking daily exercises, receiving educational materials, and staying connected with their healthcare team like never before.
These health apps and online platforms act as personalized health companions, empowering patients to take an active role in managing their orthopedic condition.
#6. Data-Driven Decisions
Digital health solutions provide orthopedic providers with vast amounts of patient data, which they can use to make more informed decisions. That’s why analyzing trends and outcomes has become so effortless. This way, they can continuously improve treatment protocols, ultimately benefiting all patients within their practice.
Embracing the digital health revolution presents orthopedic providers with a remarkable opportunity to embrace efficiency, accessibility, and patient-centricity like never before. While some may be wary of the changes, the potential for better patient outcomes and a more streamlined healthcare experience is just too crucial to ignore.
These advancements we’ve discussed above are not merely futuristic fantasies but tangible solutions that have already begun to reshape the landscape of orthopedic care.