Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, healthcare has come under extreme pressure and has been pushed to its limits for two years now. It seems that with the shift in medical care attention and the need to make changes, the healthcare system will start to pivot just as other areas of human life have done. Technology during the pandemic showed some new possibilities that could make their way into helping healthcare further advance.
The odds that healthcare continues to become a little more hands-off are probably more certain than March Madness odds, but that is not a big issue.
The bigger issue is the implementation of technological advances and upskilling of the medical practitioners in the Medtech industry, which can help continue to advance healthcare. This can make healthcare more easily accessible and ultimately help reduce its cost.. But how can this be done?
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Internet of Medical Things
The internet of medical things is the associated infrastructure of healthcare systems and services that will provide patients with mild symptoms and conditions the ability to be treated from home. This will help the medical field keep emergency rooms, hospitals, and doctor’s offices more available for serious cases and patients. With innovation and data integration across all systems becoming more and more viable, this will help advance healthcare to be more efficient for all those involved.
This process had already started with tele-visits with doctors where patients could call in, describe their symptoms and talk with a doctor to address their symptoms. Doctors could then prescribe treatments over the phone or advise that they go to their doctor or the emergency room. This is continuing to evolve and now includes video consultations instead of just tele-visits.
This allows more access to it for those in remote places or those who have extremely busy lifestyles. The convenience that this type of its service will provide will become extremely popular for non-life-threatening health conditions. This will also hopefully bring the cost of healthcare down and also not overburden the healthcare system with visits for minor health issues.
Medical Imaging Technology
When we talk about this technology, we usually refer to PACS (picture archiving and communication system). PACS is used to safely store and digitally transmit reports with clinical relevance, as well as electronic images. The PACS system has made documentation storing much easier and provided a better view of a patient’s condition. Many departments use PACS, such as radiology, cardiology, dermatology, oncology, and pathology.
Artificial intelligence is becoming used more and more for data collection and organization. This is becoming more widely used to not only help with the collection of information for healthcare but will also continue to help doctors and healthcare professionals to diagnose and treat patients as well. The growth in this area can be seen in the value of companies that create and run artificial intelligence for its systems. It has grown from a $600 million industry in 2014 and now hovers at over $6 billion today.
These artificial intelligence systems will help the healthcare system reduce clinician errors, improve diagnostic accuracy, and improve better quality of care, just to name a few. AI will continue to help aid doctors and health professionals in monitoring patients’ health data and automatically create diagnostic reports. All of this will also help lower daily operational expenditures and streamline healthcare while speeding up the diagnostic process.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote patient monitoring will continue to grow in numerous directions in the future. Instead of follow-up visits to discuss the next step of treatment or to simply check-in, remote patient monitoring can now fill the void via the phone, video conferences, or through the use of wearable devices that will track vital health information. Each situation for different patients and health issues will dictate what is needed.
An example of this might be a patient who has been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. So they need to constantly monitor their blood sugar levels and track their diet. With the use of testing machines and applications or programs that track, they can log their numbers into and be in constant contact with their healthcare provider will allow this type of patient to stay on track and not fall into poor health for lack of connection with their healthcare provider.
Technology continues to evolve and reshape the healthcare system for the better. In this busy, on-the-go type of lifestyle that we have accustomed to, these advancements will help people with their healthcare and allow for easier and more convenient access to its providers.