5 Incredible Ways Technology Is Revolutionizing Healthcare
It’s undoubtable that technology has influenced almost every aspect of society. Some of the most impressive tech-enabled innovations occur in healthcare. We’ve rounded up a few examples of some of the most innovative movements going on in healthcare tech right now!
1. Artificial Intelligence Is Helping Doctors Achieve Faster, More Accurate Diagnoses
The time that patients and their loved ones wait for diagnoses can be particularly distressing, and even life-threatening in the case of abnormalities that could be fatal. However, doctors increasingly use artificial intelligence (AI) to improve their speed and accuracy when determining what’s wrong with a patient.
In a recent instance, researchers at Stanford University developed an AI algorithm that flags medical images containing signs of brain aneurysms. Plus, there are similar achievements where scientists use AI to check for cancer and mental health ailments, among other things. It will likely be a while before AI diagnostic tools reach the mainstream, but results in lab tests show promise for certain uses in the near future.
2. Telemedicine Improves Patient Care Access
Telemedicine is a branch of healthcare that involves using audio and visual communication technology to enable doctors to assess patients across distances. Recent assessments project the worth of the global telemedicine market to reach $130.5 billion by 2025, up substantially from its current value of $38.3 billion.
Thanks to telemedicine, sick people do not have to deal with inconveniences like dealing with traffic on the way to doctors’ offices or sitting in waiting rooms as their contagious illnesses risk spreading to other individuals in the vicinity. Instead, people can download telemedicine apps on their phones or tablets and either sign up for particular appointment times or request being seen by the next available physician.
Besides the convenience that telemedicine offers, it gives better access to people who live in remote areas or do not have reliable sources of transportation. Additionally, people who suffer from anxiety disorders may find it too overwhelming to go through the usual process of seeking medical care and decide that telemedicine makes them feel more comfortable because it takes place in their homes.
3. 3D Animations Help Make Medical Education More Effective
The training healthcare providers receive goes far beyond what happens in medical school. For example, surgeons might get specialized training to learn how to operate a new robotics tool that assists with a complicated operation. Whether the education takes place in medical school or afterward, there is an ongoing push to make it as realistic as possible. Then, it’s easier for learners to apply new techniques to real-world environments.
3D animations benefit patients and doctors in numerous ways, including by enhancing the quality of education. Statistics say that viewers have 19% higher comprehension rates when viewing 3D animations compared to standard surgical videos. So, they could be especially useful if a surgeon needs training to prepare for a new kind of procedure. Or, they could help patients feel more informed about their surgeries before they happen.
Of course, these animations are useful outside the operating room. The potential use cases for them range from teaching patients how to use medical devices or instructing caregivers how to stop the spread of infection. In instances like those, animations could keep people engaged and help them feel empowered.
4. Connected Devices Assist in Enhanced Monitoring
Technology has also furthered tremendous advances in the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), which represent the connected devices that can help doctors monitor patient adherence to things like mandatory exercise after a knee surgery. There are also gadgets that allow patients to track their conditions at home and let them send statistics to their doctors that show anything amiss.
Having access to such up-to-the-minute details could allow doctors to intervene fast enough to reduce hospital admissions or other complications. Similarly, getting the statistics from a device that a patient wears could make it easier to see the effects of a newly prescribed medication. Then, physicians could make better judgments about how soon a person needs to come into an office for a face-to-face visit.
Scientists have also developed a way for smart speakers to serve as heart attack alert devices. An algorithm can detect agonal breathing, which happens when a person gasps for air instead of breathing normally. Agonal breathing often accompanies a heart attack, and researchers say their algorithm could enable smart speakers to recognize that health issue and automatically call for emergency assistance.
5. Rapid Blood Tests Reduce Delays in Diagnoses and Treatments
People are accustomed to getting blood tests and then having to wait at least several days for the results. But, as mentioned earlier, the waiting time to receive diagnoses is often annoying and anxiety-inducing. And, when a patient has an especially severe illness, knowing which treatment they need could mean the difference between life and death. Not surprisingly, then, scientists want to find methods of shortening the delays before blood tests results come back.
In 2018, one team engineered a way to do that with the help of an automated device that takes care of both the blood draws and the processing of results. They believe their innovation is an excellent solution for providing quick blood test results in places ranging from ambulances to health clinics.
Additionally, scientists created a test that can find evidence of sepsis in under three minutes instead of the approximately 72 hours normally required. Their achievement could save thousands of lives by giving doctors the information they need to start treating patients for sepsis instead of waiting days to get confirmation.
A Fascinating Future in Healthcare
The technologies highlighted here show that patients and providers alike have much to feel excited about already and that technology will likely progress even more than people can imagine or anticipate. That means the benefits should be mutual for the individuals who administer treatments and those who receive them.