The technology of the information age has had a significant impact on the way we live our lives. When we first think of these technologies, we usually consider the many ways that they have impacted the human experience from a social standpoint. However, some of the biggest changes that have come from information technology have been in the healthcare sector. From how patient information is stored and used, to mobile devices that can make healthcare services more accessible in the home, the new tech that is under development is changing the way that healthcare is administered. Not only that, it is changing the ways that we connect with the system.
Healthcare is Leading the Tech Revolution
Modern information technology touches every part of our lives and it reaches into almost every corner of the industry, but there are few places where the advances have been quite as dramatic as in the healthcare industry.
One of the most beneficial changes that we have seen is in the ways that records are stored and accessed. With document management software, healthcare facilities have moved away from the old methods with physical files and into an age where records are paperless.
Managing documents with a software program can be beneficial for any type of organization, but it lends itself well to the healthcare industry. In the digital model, patient records are more accessible to healthcare professionals when they need them, they are easier to organize and keep together, and it offers possibilities for patients to gain empowerment by having better access to their own records. Some networks are already experimenting with portal technology that allows the patient better access to their healthcare records and it is already showing benefits toward getting people more involved in their own care.
This portal technology could be used in conjunction with other pieces of medical tech that are currently available or on their way to development. We have also seen an increased ability to use at-home diagnostics and monitoring devices. Companies that specialize in healthcare tech are even developing devices and apps that work with a Smartphone to allow patients to handle more of these jobs on their own.
With the portal system and some of these home devices, a physician could order a patient to perform a diagnostic test from the home, and then upload the data from the device to include the results in their patient file. This could save patients on an unnecessary trip to the doctor or emergency room and it will free up more of the doctors time to increase their ability to see more patients.
Innovations in Healthcare
The information age has sparked a boom of innovation in the healthcare industry; the examples of DMS systems and portable tech are just two of the examples that are starting to have a major impact. Along with this, you also have changes in the way that people communicate, the growth in robotics, and the introduction of big data.
With these advances in technology, we have new methods of communication. Patients can now receive telehealth consultations from a doctor through video chat. This increases accessibility and cuts costs. Additionally, doctors can now consult with each other by using different platforms and programs.
Some of these advances in information technology will be especially beneficial to small businesses that offer healthcare services. Companies that operate on a smaller scale will be able to offer more services, even with a limited amount of work or storage space, and they will have better access to information technology. As an example, a small assisted living center now has access to document management software that is on par with systems used in larger facilities. These systems can keep patient information more organized, on task, and compliant with regulatory conditions.
Looking to the Future
When it comes to healthcare tech in the age of information, we are really just at the beginning of what can be done. The existing technologies are going to be refined and new systems and devices are going to continue in development. In addition to this, we are going to see many of these technologies integrate with systems to operate with seamless cooperation.
One of the areas of advancement that is continually gaining ground is the use of robotic surgery. While robotic surgery has been around for a few decades, the ability of these machines to perform more procedures and to work with better precision is going to mean an expansion in their roles in the healthcare industry of the future.
You also have the consideration of how big data can play a bigger role in medicine. One of the problems for doctors is the vast amount of information that they need to be aware of in the everyday practice of their jobs. Doctors are already starting to test the use of IBM’s Watson computer as a tool for helping them with information that can be relevant to the treatment and diagnosis process.
Whether you are a doctor, a hospital administrator, or a nurse practitioner, information technology is going to create some dramatic changes in the way that you do things in the coming years. As time goes on, information is going to be more accessible and useful, while these technologies are going to allow patients to play a much more active role in the care process.