Technology is already changing the way we live and work, so it should come as no surprise that it’s revolutionizing the healthcare industry too. Researchers and clinicians are already using the latest tech to deliver enhanced patient care and improve treatment outcomes, but it doesn’t stop there. To learn more about the impact technology is having on our health and well-being, take a look at these five ways it’s transforming the healthcare sector:
1. Personalized Medicine
Traditionally, scientists and researchers developed medicines and treatments that had a broad application. However, these types of medical solutions didn’t take individual responses into account. That’s why some people experience side effects when taking a particular medication and others don’t, and why some treatments offer a complete cure for certain patients and fail to work for other people.
With personalized medicine, doctors can accurately predict how an individual will respond to certain medications and modify their treatment accordingly.
Technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI) allows a vast amount of data to be gathered from the patient. When doctors analyze this data, they’re able to create bespoke treatments for the patient and, therefore, increase the efficacy of both preventative and curative medical solutions.
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2. Professional Training
Technology isn’t just transforming the type of medication that’s available or the way in which treatments are delivered, it’s also improving access to healthcare training.
Now that healthcare professionals can study online, for example, they can combine a full-time role with career progression. Whereas this was limited to those individuals who could afford to take time away from work in order to study on campus, virtual learning is making healthcare qualifications far more accessible.
While some medical training must still be delivered in a real-life setting, many healthcare qualifications can be obtained completely online, particularly if students already have professional experience in a healthcare setting. For experienced nurses who want to progress their careers, for example, online DNP programs from top schools provide the opportunity to qualify with a doctorate degree via virtual study.
3. Enhanced Data Security
Cybersecurity is a major issue for any organization but it’s particularly relevant to healthcare companies, non-profits and professionals. The healthcare industry is subject to stricter confidentiality standards than most other sectors, which means any form of data breach or loss has added consequences.
When you consider the volume and nature of the data that healthcare organizations hold, it’s clear that enhanced data security measures are required.
With new threats emerging all the time, it can be tricky to create impenetrable IT systems. However, blockchain could be a gamechanger for the healthcare sector. Already used in relation to digital currencies, blockchain technology acts as a decentralized digital ledger.
Using highly encrypted records, each ‘block’ is time-stamped and unchangeable. As well as each record being encrypted, the formation of the blocks is linked by cryptography, which makes it highly secure. With the potential to revolutionize the way drug data, patient data and medical supply chain data is collected, stored and analyzed, blockchain technology could significantly increase the cybersecurity of the healthcare sector as a whole.
4. Remote Patient Monitoring
Until relatively recently, patients would need to attend a hospital or doctor’s office in order to have medical evaluations or examinations. The results of these tests were somewhat limited, however, as the tests themselves are conducted in an artificial environment. ‘White coat syndrome’ can cause a patient’s blood pressure to increase when it’s monitored in a medical setting, for example.
When patients can be monitored remotely, doctors can evaluate them over a longer period and monitor their physiological response to real-life stimulus. This provides medical professionals with far more insight into a patient’s condition and enables more effective treatment to be implemented.
Wearable tech devices are already widely used, particularly smart watches and fitness trackers. In addition to this, certain medical devices, such as pacemakers, are using the latest tech to continuously collate data and feed it back to medical professionals.
Additionally, this type of tech is capable of alerting a patient and/or their doctor if it picks up anomalous data, thus potentially preventing a catastrophic medical emergency.
As technology continues to evolve, we’ll see much more remote patient monitoring in the future. An increasing number of metrics will be monitored in this way, meaning a wider range of conditions and diseases can be prevented, managed and treated with higher success rates.
5. Earlier Diagnoses
Although preventative healthcare is already being used, it’s set to take off in a big way. Apart from routine medical screenings, patients are only usually diagnosed with a condition if they experience symptoms and visit their physician for an evaluation.
Of course, many conditions are present well before symptoms emerge, which means patients are being diagnosed a relatively long time after the disease first developed.
The increased availability of data and the ability to effectively process and analyze Big Data is already starting to facilitate earlier diagnoses, which should lead to an increase in the number of people who are successfully treated for life-threatening or life-changing conditions.
By using AI to diagnose conditions based on medical imaging and histology, for example, technology can deliver diagnoses more accurately and at a faster rate.
Furthermore, the data gathered from individual patients via AI will allow medical professionals to determine any unique risk factors they may have. This ensures that patients can be monitored more closely, based on their likelihood of developing certain conditions. With effective monitoring, earlier diagnoses can be made, and treatment can be delivered more swiftly.
The Future of Healthcare
There’s no doubt that technology will play a major role in the future of healthcare. While tech advances have already transformed the way medicine is practiced, the continued evolution of tech will bring a new era of medicine.
From prevention and diagnoses to treatment and cure, tech will play a pivotal role in every aspect of healthcare. With new developments being announced all the time, digital health technology is set to transform the lives of patients and healthcare professionals.