Top 10 Technologies Changing Healthcare
WRITTEN BY: Jonny Williamson
10. Digitised Records
Security concerns aside, the move to digital medical records shouldn’t be underappreciated, manifesting into more effective collaboration and communication between different healthcare providers. Whether in the run-up to, or following medical procedures, the impact can be felt by staff working in different departments within the same hospital, through to foreign aid administered to a patient while abroad. Not to mention the once obligatory record rooms now being used for much needed additional bed-space.
MicroCHIPS has built itself around its core technology of drug delivery via hermetically sealed chambers within a microchip, scheduled to release drugs directly into the bloodstream. Implanted beneath the skin and monitored remotely, successful trials have proven the system reduces the strain on healthcare providers by lowering the frequency of visits required by those suffering from chronic disorders.
8. Search Engines
The analytics being generated by search engines such as Google are proving immensely valuable in predicting and fighting potential outbreaks of illnesses, from simple flu or food poisoning to much worse epidemics. A number of studies have found a direct correlation between the symptoms people are searching and what patients are showing when seeking treatment at hospitals or clinics.
7. Augmented Reality
AR essentially overlays virtual information onto a physical object in real-time when viewed through an enabled device, such as a tablet or smartphone. Medical applications include helping practitioners diagnose ailments more easily and changing the way scans, such as MRIs, X-rays and ultrasounds, are viewed.
6. Social Networks
Whether for the patients themselves, or families and friends, a big part of coping once being diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses is through counselling and support groups. Sites such as Facebook, with 900 million current members worldwide, are challenging the traditional environment and methods of counselling, and helping people better connect with others facing a similar situation.
5. Da Vinci Intuitive Surgical System
Using state-of-the-art robotic technology, the system allows surgeons to perform delicate and complex operations through a number of tiny incisions, with a marked increase in vision, precision and dexterity. Though not applicable for every procedure, utilising the system can help reduce a patient’s hospital stay and speeds recovery.
The advent of technology has made possible the creation ultra-realistic models and training environments for trainees to practice exercises in a way never before thought possible. Especially relevant for intricate and complex procedures, the simulations play a vital role in training not just interns, but also help refresh and update current practitioners’ knowledge as well.
3. Mobile Technology
Never before have patients been able to take such responsibility for their own healthcare as now. There is now a veritable cornucopia of mobile apps, ranging from medication databases and healthcare trackers, to pregnancy calendars and suggestions for questions to ask your doctor about specific illnesses.
2. The Internet
Though access to such a huge amount of information has given rise to so-called ‘cyber-chondriacs’, the ability to research and seek advice is not only incredibly beneficial for the general public, it also provides an instantaneous means for doctors to seek second opinions and share experiences and findings from studies with colleagues around the world.
Combining nearly every one of these technologies inside one device, nothing has become synonymous with the changing face of healthcare like Apple’s iPad. More mobile than a laptop, yet still providing all of the necessary information quite literally at doctors fingertips, iPads have had as much of an impact on patients as it has for healthcare professionals; an impact that is only set to increase in the future. Changing the relationship dynamic between patient and doctor, many apps have come about as a result of trying to simplify medical visits, cutting through the jargon and complicated terms and allowing a patient to better understand an illness and the treatment options. New apps are also equipping health organisations with the tools to run themselves more efficiently, helping to streamline supply chains and shorten necessary, yet time-consuming administrative tasks.