Technology has been the main catalyst for change in almost all industries. And the magnitude of its impact is exceptional when it comes to the healthcare industry. Simply put, technology is transforming the healthcare sector, taking patient care and experience to the next level.
From creating a connected healthcare system to automating data entry stuff, maintaining electronic data records, inventing surgical tools, machines, and other medical equipment, technology is sure driving the healthcare sector forward and streamlining the very way we approach medical treatment and care.
Technology is breaking all the barriers that are standing in the way of exceptional patient care, support, and experience. Let’s look at the different ways in which technology is transforming the healthcare sector today.
5 Ways technology is transforming the healthcare sector
1. AI-driven patient care
Did you know? AI-enabled tools can diagnose breast cancer risk 30 times faster than doctors, with 99% accuracy. Also, AI can scan thousands of pathology images of various cancer types and spot details that a human eye cannot.
Simply put, AI software is capable of providing precise diagnoses, predicting the most effective drug combinations, and therefore, reducing the need for biopsies. To further elaborate, AI is helping healthcare professionals in a wide array of tasks, some of them being:
- Automating healthcare administrative tasks
- Patient record management
- Early detection of illness/disease
- Accurate diagnosis
- Wellness support services, including healthcare chatbots
- Treatment and surgeries (robot-assisted surgeries)
- Medical research and training
And because of this, the global market for AI-enabled healthcare services is expected to reach $120 billion by 2028, thereby, further reinforcing how much technology is transforming the healthcare sector now and in the future.
2. Electronic health records
Gone are the days where healthcare professionals were required to manually enter and file all the patient history and other treatment-related information. Thanks to Electronic Health Records (EHRs)!
EHRs have indeed improved the way healthcare professionals approach medical treatment and patient care. In other words, they have made it extremely easy to access patient records, especially for clinicians practicing in different facilities so that patient care and service do not get affected in any way.
That is, EHRs provide medical practitioners with a fuller, more holistic picture of a patient’s health history, thereby, enabling them to make more nuanced decisions regarding the patient’s treatment.
In conclusion, EHRs help healthcare experts to handle issues at the right time, with no or minimal scope for any kind of errors.
3. Telehealth/Virtual healthcare
Pandemic showed us all how important it is to have a well-laid out virtual healthcare system in place.
The ultimate goal of any healthcare system is to meet and treat the patients regardless of where they are. Fortunately, the telehealth/virtual healthcare system makes this possible.
At times when there were travel restrictions, social distancing, and lockdowns, virtual healthcare came to everybody’s rescue.
Virtual healthcare allows people to check in with their healthcare provider from the comfort of their homes while allowing doctors to see more patients and provide high-quality care – with the help of video conferencing tools, mobile apps, and wearable technology.
And these wearable health and fitness trackers are helping people track and monitor their health and share the details with their healthcare providers.
Here’s an interesting finding! If all patients chose virtual healthcare over face-to-face visits, it could save the U.S. health system $7 billion annually. This means nearly 37,000 doctors will have some free time on their hands. 🙂
4. Robot-assisted surgery
Though the sound of robot-assisted surgery may have a scary ring to it and is raising a few eyebrows, it has already entered the healthcare sphere and is transforming the way we look at surgeries and operations.
Though there is a fear of ‘what if robot-assisted surgery goes wrong…’, however, on the brighter side, using robots to assist healthcare experts with surgery can allow for much greater precision while reducing the invasiveness of many procedures. This in turn can help improve patients’ recovery time and even reduce pain.
In addition, robot-assisted surgery can even reduce stress for surgeons as it allows them to perform delicate and complex procedures with ease that might otherwise be challenging and nerve-cracking.
So, how does a robot-assisted surgery work? This is how – surgeons control a device with a camera and mechanical arms, with access to a high-definition view of the surgical site.
Mayo Clinic revealed that robot-assisted surgery has many benefits like: it promotes precision, flexibility, and control. Not just that, it rules out complications such as infections and most importantly, leaves no room for scars as it is hardly invasive.
As mentioned above, though robot-assisted surgery may sound scary – one thing to note here is – we’ve barely scratched the surface of technology-driven possibilities in the healthcare industry. Only time will tell us how it will further revolutionize the way we look at healthcare services and functions.
5. 3D Printing
3D printing is a blessing to the healthcare industry. It is helping healthcare sectors to save time and reduce costs. The 3D printing technology is helping healthcare industries create artificial bones, prosthetics, and supports. Not just that, with this technology in place, you can even print bio tissues, artificial limbs, pills, blood vessels, and the list goes on. With 3D printing, the possibilities are just endless. They are even helping with organ transplants and tissue repair.
3D printing is even benefitting the pharmaceutical industry. While FDA-approved 3D-printed drugs have been a reality since 2015, researchers are now working on 3D-printing polypills.
And the use of 3D printing will only increase in the near future, considering the advancements happening in the field.
And this is just the beginning…
Our healthcare system has definitely come a long way, given the technological advancements. The way technology is transforming the healthcare industry today is indeed a pleasure to watch and witness. And the best part is – it’s just the beginning! The future will unveil what technology is capable of doing. And how it can revolutionize the way the healthcare system approaches healthcare services and patient care.