Healthcare IT: 10 Ways Tech Is Changing the Sector for the Better
Photo by Hush Naidoo
The United States has a very low doctor to patient ratio. So how does the medical industry keep up with the demand of having so many patients who need help?
The answer is healthcare IT.
By using new technologies in the healthcare industry, doctors can provide better help more accurately to their patients.
Let’s take a look at how information technology is used in healthcare and other recent technological advances that will be major improvements in the healthcare arena.
1. Electronic Health Records
Electronic healthcare records are a relatively new advancement in healthcare technology, and they provide many advantages to the healthcare arena, such as:
- Keeping patient information up-to-date and complete
- Quick and efficient access to records
- Keeping electronic information secure and private
- Reliable and accurate diagnoses and prescriptions
- Prevents errors caused by illegible handwriting or misplaced documents
With healthcare IT technology advancing so quickly and efficiently, we can look at the new electronic health record systems and see a rapid increase in their effectiveness.
2. Customized Electronic Health Records in Healthcare IT
One great thing about modern electronic health records is that they can either be generalized to the practice or they can have specific functions to assist a certain healthcare field in keeping accurate records and helping clients.
For example, MedInformatix has a radiology information system that is specific to the field of radiology and compatible with other systems to allow for functions such as transcription. The system includes scheduling, workflow, registration, and everything else you need to keep accurate records electronically.
A term similar to remote patient monitoring technology, mHealth is a way to use mobile technology for healthcare purposes. It refers to the way we can use modern technology to help patients capture health data about themselves, empowering the user in their own healthcare.
One of the things that mHealth helps with is accurately monitoring the health of even those who can’t regularly see a doctor in person.
4. Medical Apps
Healthcare apps that are accessible through mobile devices are one type of mHealth application.
American Red Cross App
The free Red Cross first aid app is another step in modern healthcare technology. It allows instant remote access to information that patients need when there’s an emergency.
You can also enable this app on your Amazon Alexa device, which is a great technology for situations when someone such as an elderly person has an emergency and can’t reach their phone to call for help.
Doctor on Demand App
The Doctor on Demand app allows patients to connect with a certified doctor from the comfort of their own home using a mobile device, something that opens new doors for many who have trouble accessing healthcare in person.
One of the biggest areas this app treats is the field of behavioral health, helping patients with disorders such as anxiety and depression. The doctors can also treat chronic conditions, such as high cholesterol, thyroid problems, and weight management.
5. Autism and Beyond
Autism and Beyond is a system released within an app that was developed by experts to aid parents in the pre-diagnosis of autism in their children. The app uses video technology to analyze micro behaviors in young children, before then providing a recommendation for the next steps to take.
This puts medical power into the hands of parents and also helps de-stigmatize the diagnosis of autism. Once the app gives users a general first impression of whether their child might fall on the autism spectrum, they can take that information directly to their healthcare provider.
6. Heart Surgery Simulator
There is now a prototype of a surgery simulator of the human heart. This is a huge advancement in the field of healthcare that will allow more accurate surgeries to be performed, ultimately saving lives. The heart simulator works using e-rubber, which functions with electricity and accurately mimics the beating of a human heart muscle.
7. Virtual Reality for Pain Management
In an emergency room in Paris, France is testing new healthcare technology’s limits by using virtual reality systems to help manage pain and anxiety in patients. The idea is that the world of virtual reality presented to the patient will help distract their minds from minor procedures that may otherwise cause distress.
The virtual reality system presents the patients with things such as a zen garden, or they are able to do something interactive like making a painting. This distracts the brain from the minor pain that accompanies the procedure without the use of pain medication.
8. Virtual Reality for Addiction Recovery
Virtual reality can be effectively used to treat substance addictions by simulating situations in which the patient can practice resisting drug-related cues. This helps them form new habits that reduce cravings.
When patients were exposed to a virtual reality bar where patrons were smoking or to photographs of smoking situations, the virtual reality situation was shown to produce far stronger nicotine cravings. The more realistic cravings caused by this system allow the doctor or therapist to really help the patient tackle their addiction in a safe environment.
9. Wearable Healthcare Devices
Wearable healthcare technology includes devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers that record the user’s personal health on a daily basis. This puts the power back in the patient’s hands to understand their own health.
Wearable ECG monitors are one of the newest trends in healthcare trackers. An ECG monitor is able to measure the patient’s electrocardiogram or detect atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeats). It can then send that important information directly to the user’s doctor.
10. Healthcare Data Analytics
The healthcare data analytics industry is estimated to grow substantially in the upcoming years. This industry takes the data gathered from electronic health records and provides insights into improving healthcare and the effectiveness of services.
This information can help figure out what populations are at risk for certain diseases and figure out how the healthcare arena can best use its resources to help people.
The Future of Healthcare IT
The world of healthcare tech is growing each day as we expand our knowledge of technology and begin to apply it to practical uses. The future of healthcare IT is an exciting one that we have only just begun to explore the potential of.
To learn more about advances in technology, make sure to check out the rest of our site.