The Digital Age has transformed how people live, but digital transformation in the healthcare industry remains painfully slow. The healthcare industry is very careful when adopting new technologies since any slight error could have drastic consequences. This has led to a kind of polar relationship between medicine and technology.
The situation appears to be changing, however. In recent times, we have witnessed some groundbreaking achievements in medical technology. This improved acceptance of technology by the medical world has several benefits for medical personnel and their patients. So, what are those benefits, and how has technology improved medical care?
Digital Healthcare Solutions
Digital technology has solved many healthcare problems and continues to solve newer problems. The Ebola vaccine was manufactured in record-breaking time, largely thanks to technology. The more recent Covid-19 pandemic was also effectively quelled due to technological assistance. Here are some more subtle ways digital transformation occurs in the healthcare industry.
This is probably the most powerful form of digital transformation in the healthcare industry, and its immense advantages are quite evident. It’s worth noting that the drug manufacturing industry relies heavily on automation. Automation brings improved safety, accuracy, and sterility to drug manufacturing.
Likewise, health services are improved due to reduced paperwork, human error, and maximized productivity. Automated healthcare gadgets give doctors more time to communicate with patients and attend to more patients within the same period. Automation permeates every aspect of healthcare, and the improvement is quite easy to see.
2. Better Health Monitoring
Technology has no doubt assisted healthcare professionals in monitoring their patients. Real-time monitors such as electrocardiographs can monitor a patient’s vitals. Another trend is the improvement in patient portals. These portals allow patients and doctors to monitor health records, prescribe drugs and check prescriptions, schedule appointments and receive laboratory results without traveling to the hospital.
3. Virtual Healthcare
One of the major changes in healthcare is the increase in telemedicine, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic. According to research, over 80% of surveyed patients support telemedicine, citing that it improved their interaction with their healthcare personnel and institutions. Patients can schedule appointments, receive prescriptions, or even perform first aid with the assistance of health personnel through emails, video chats, and more. This is particularly convenient for people with disabilities.
4. Health Wearables
This is one way in which technology has directly improved healthcare for individuals. The rising health consciousness of the general population has led to the development of health wearables in various forms. The most common health wearable is the smartwatch, with many sensors such as heart rate trackers, oximeters, and thermometers, as well as important reminders for drinking water, exercise, and menstrual cycles. Doctors can use these records to diagnose, analyze metrics, and more.
5. Improved Emergency Responses
Apart from improved ambulance services, many other innovations in emergency responses have saved countless lives. There are automated emergency drones to send necessary materials to emergency scenes without requiring additional personnel. Modern ambulances can also send vital information in real time to hospitals, making preparation and teamwork much easier and more efficient. During disasters, when conventional communication networks might be destroyed, satellite communication offers seamless communication solutions.
Despite the rapid adoption of technology in healthcare and the various benefits offered by healthcare technology, many aspects of healthcare remain largely untouched by the digital transformation wave. There are several important reasons why digitization is slower in healthcare. Firstly, there is no space for errors, as a slight glitch can prove fatal for the patient. Also, medical information is very sensitive, and with the gory history of large-scale data leaks, it is understandable that many hospitals opt for old-fashioned database systems.
However, technology is constantly improving, and its adoption in healthcare is increasing. More healthcare institutions are adopting digital technology to improve healthcare efficiency. Therefore, we can expect an improved fusion between technology and medicine in the near future.