There is no doubt that healthcare is in crisis and has been for many years. From the high cost of treatment and/or health insurance to a severe shortage of doctors and nurses, there is a growing realization that something needs to be done or tens of millions of consumers won’t get the healthcare services they need. The one shining ray in all of this is technology that is not only improving the quality of patient care but the speed at which services can be delivered. Much of these improvements are due to advances in the professional field of healthcare informatics. Here are four of the amazing ways technology is improving patient care.
1. Mandated Use of EMR/HER
In recent years, the government has issued a mandate that physicians and medical facilities transfer all medical and patient records to a digital format. Not only is there a serious reduction in paperwork but this enables anyone concerned and who has a right to access that information the ability to view it from wherever they happen to be. The key benefit is efficient communication between providers and greater transparency as well.
2. Faster Access to Information
Access to electronic medical records speeds up communications between providers. Now a pharmacy or specialist can instantly log in to view a patient’s records, medical history, or pharmaceutical history and have everything at their disposal instantly to provide a patient with the services and/or medical attention they need without an unnecessary wait for the information to arrive via snail mail or even fax.
There is nothing quite like the precision with which technology is able to quickly and accurately diagnose diseases that were hitherto obscure. With increasing advances in imaging and molecular diagnostic technology, diagnoses are rapidly being determined and with an accuracy rate that has improved many, many times over.
4. Enhanced Patient/Provider Communications
From wearables to social media, patients now have greater means at their disposal to communicate with their healthcare providers in real time. A patient will wear a device, for example, that monitors blood glucose and if levels get dangerously low or high, the device will alert the physician through mobile phone communications and an immediate response can save that patient’s life. Patients can also communicate easier with physicians via email and messaging systems so that they may get answers without lengthy waits for an office visit or a lengthy wait in an emergency room.
So you see, there really are amazing ways in which technology is improving patient care and although it cannot make up for the lack of trained healthcare professionals, it can take a lot of the burden off those already working in the system with a patient/provider ratio that is off the charts. Wouldn’t it be interesting if AI taught these machines to actually function as healthcare professionals as well? Yes, that’s food for a sci-fi flick, but it really does bear thought given the rapidity at which these advances are occurring!