The advancement of technology continues to change all industries . In healthcare, technology is increasingly playing a role in almost all processes, from patient registration to data monitoring, from lab tests to self-care tools.
Devices like smartphones and tablets are starting to replace conventional monitoring and recording systems, and people are now given the option of undergoing a full consultation in the privacy of their own homes. Technological advancements in healthcare have allowed services that were previously carried out within hospital walls to be carried out anywhere, and integrating them with user-friendly, accessible devices.
Technological Advancements in Healthcare
- The electronic health record. By 2013, about 80 percent of hospitals have started using electronic health record into their organizations. While the electronic health record has already created big strides in the centralization and efficiency of patient information, it can also be used as a data and population health tool for the future.
- mHealth.Mobile health is freeing healthcare devices of wires and cords and enabling physicians and patients alike to check on healthcare processes on-the-go. Smartphones and tablets allow healthcare providers to more freely access and send information. However, mHealth is not only about wireless connectivity. It has also become a tool that allows patients to become active players in their treatment by connecting communication with biometrics.
- Telemedicine/telehealth.Studies consistently show the benefit of telehealth, especially in rural areas that do not have access to the same resources metropolitan areas may have. A large-scale study published in CHEST Journal shows patients in an intensive care unit equipped with telehealth services were discharged from the ICU 20 percent more quickly and saw a 26 percent lower mortality rate than patients in a regular ICU.
- Portal technology.Patients are increasingly becoming active players in their own healthcare, and portal technology is one tool helping them to do so. Portal technology allows physicians and patients to access medical records and interact online.
- Self-service kiosks.Similar to portal technology, self-service kiosks can help expedite processes like hospital registration.
- Remote monitoring tools.At the end of 2012, 2.8 million patients worldwide were using a home monitoring system, according to a Research and Markets report. Monitoring patients health at home can reduce costs and unnecessary visits to a physician’s office.
- Sensors and wearable technology.The wearable medical device market is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 16.4 percent a year, according to a Transparency Market Research report. Wearable medical devices and sensors are simply another way to collect data, which is one of the aims and purposes of healthcare. Sensors and wearable technology could be as simple as an alert sent to a care provider when a patient falls down or a bandage that can detect skin pH levels to tell if a cut is getting infected.
- Wireless communication.While instant messaging and walkie-talkies aren’t new technologies themselves, they have only recently been introduced into the hospital setting, replacing devices like beepers and overhead pagers.
- Real-time locating services.Another growing data monitoring tool, real-time locating services, are helping hospitals focus on efficiency and instantly identify problem areas. Hospitals can implement tracking systems for instruments and devices .These services gather data on areas and departments that previously were difficult to track. These tools also allow flexibility for last minute changes.
10. Pharmacogenomics/genome sequencing. Personalized medicine continues to edge closer to the forefront of the healthcare industry. Tailoring treatment plans to individuals and anticipating the onset of certain diseases offers promising benefits for healthcare efficiency and diagnostic accuracy. Pharmacogenomics in particular could help reduce the billions of dollars in excess healthcare spending due to adverse drug events, misdiagnoses, readmissions and other unnecessary costs.