Technology has played an important role in advancing healthcare accessibility and certainly the driving force to change the landscape of healthcare delivery. The rate at which healthcare innovations have taken place underscores the importance of technology in rendering safe, efficient and effective care. Using robots to assist in surgery to deliver drugs to patients in the hospital, the transformation technology has brought to healthcare should be no surprise at all. While some technological impact on healthcare readily visible to us, there is a burgeoning field call “Health Informatics” a field that combines communications, information systems, and healthcare to continuously improve patient care and has been at the forefront of technology in medicine. In this blog, we will briefly discuss how technology has made rendering care safe to patients across the care continuum.
Thanks to advances in medical technology, today’s doctors are able to effectively treat a wide range of conditions, and administer consistent follow-up care. The distance between patients and doctors is no longer a barrier. Telemedicine was initially used by a handful of hospitals about fifty years ago to reach patients in remote areas where there was a dearth of healthcare providers. Today, healthcare providers use telemedicine platform with a wide range of mobile to offer virtual visits giving entities a competitive edge. A patient in Asia or Subsahara Africa can communicate with an expert in the UK, USA or any part of the world, thanks to telemedicine. Patients living in faraway or hard-to-travel areas are no longer barred from medical aid due to innovations like remote monitoring. Using rigorous and thorough testing methods, new medications can be vetted for safe consumption more comprehensively than ever before. In addition, technologies have come about that correct for human error in clinical activity, encourage patient-centered care, and organize relevant info for easy access by doctors, as well as patients themselves. The following are a handful of core benefits provided by the latest leaps in medical tech.
Better Communication Between Healthcare Providers
Health issues aren’t always simple, and some conditions may require treatment by a team of specialized clinicians. But for every individual involved in the care process, the potential increases for botched communications and resultant errors. Electronic Health Records (EHRs) help solve this problem by storing patient data within a simple-to-navigate digital document, reducing the potential for mistakes caused by misinformation.
More Accurate Prescriptions
The consequences of prescribing patients the wrong medication are often damaging at least, and deadly at worst. Medication errors are a common mistake, however, improvements in information technology have made vital referential data easily accessible. Medical alerts and flags noting any risks that certain medications might pose to patients are added to EHRs. By simply clicking a touchscreen, healthcare providers who are prescribing medications can also pull up a wealth of drug-related information via built-in apps, mobile apps, online textbooks, and databases. In addition, digital systems allow doctors to seamlessly transmit prescriptions to pharmacies.
Emphasis on Patient-Centered Care
A collaborative approach to care–one which actively encourages patient participation–has been shown to vastly improve treatment outcomes. Working alongside families to develop a custom care plan leads to patients being more invested in their care, which benefits patient health outcomes, improves satisfaction, and boosts providers’ productivity. With the help of various apps, programs, and online portals, patients and caregivers can communicate anytime, and anywhere. Having a variety of medical resources on hand–including EHRs, clinicians themselves–enable patients to take greater control of their treatment, and obtain the best possible outcome.
While technology is far from a miracle cure, providers who aptly apply the cutting edge in medical tech to their treatment regimens stand to improve patient health outcomes. As with any new development, there can be challenges to implementation; however, digital tools have the potential to contribute substantially toward developing safe and effective care programs.