While a range of technological advancements are made each year, not all of them are able to provide any benefit to the medical industry. However, there are a few advances that have been made with regards to technology and devices that will be of much help to doctors, nurses and patients, some of which will be discussed below.
Remote Monitoring of Patients
One of the biggest technological advancements that can be expected in 2016 will be the increased use of devices such as tablets, smartphones and other wearable devices to help monitor patients remotely.
These will not only be able to collect data from patients in and out of hospital; they will deliver the information directly to doctors and other caregivers without the need for having to fill out physical paperwork that could be mislaid or worse still, misinterpreted. Information that can be monitored by means of these devices includes vital signs, blood sugar levels, blood pressure readings, heart rates, blood oxygen levels and even electrocardiogram results.
Improving Healthcare Standards
Once information has been delivered to doctors, hospitals or other nursing facilities, the appropriate healthcare professionals can monitor their patients remotely. This can save a tremendous amount of time in that fewer face to face visits with patients will be required, but those suffering from conditions such as depression, diabetes or even substance addition would still receive the treatment they need. For example, instead of waiting until they are in a doctors’ room to discuss their health conditions, patients can email questionnaires to their doctors ahead of scheduled visits. Using tech devices to compliment traditional healthcare practices will also help save a lot of money.
Assisting more Patients
An added advantage of incorporating technology into healthcare is that the time saved by using it can enable doctors and nurses to attend to more patients each day. In cases where appointments took 20-30 minutes previously because patients had to spend most of that time explaining their concerns or medical conditions, being able to send crucial information through to healthcare providers ahead of appointments could see them being reduced to 10-15 minutes instead. This can be especially beneficial for patients who suffer from chronic health conditions, as it will allow them to get the information they need without having to schedule appointments each time.
Many patients who suffer from mental health issues, chronic or incurable conditions or behavioral disorders end up ‘falling off the wagon’ after leaving their doctors’ rooms because little to no follow-ups are being done to ensure that they are keeping up with prescriptions and/or treatment programs. Improving existing digitized workflow processes and implementing the use of more technology can help these patients manage their conditions, which will improve their quality of life. Moving from traditional ‘one size fits all’ treatments and prescriptions to personalized medicine will also help ensure that each patient receives treatment and medication that he or she will respond best to.
As technology continues advancing in the healthcare industry, it will be interesting to see what other improvements will be made this year. What do you think?