Googling our symptoms is about as accepted in modern-day life as having a mobile phone, but there are also lots of other, more significant ways that technology has influenced the world of health, from the inside.
From doctors showing us educational videos bedside, to having a microchip implanted that gives us our daily medication so that we don’t have to remember; the face of healthcare is most certainly changing in the modern world. In this article we highlight eight ways that technology is influencing health.
Paper, clipboards and biros could soon be a thing of the past as more and more of our health records are input electronically.
At the touch of an icon a patient’s entire history can be accessed and with this format comes the ability to ask patients to complete pre-appointment questionnaires electronically, ensuring doctors are better-equipped within the appointment itself.
What this effectively means is less time spent trying to diagnose, and more time prescribing what is needed to fix an already known ailment. In a world where doctor’s appointments often run late, it could mean a quicker and yet more effective system.
If you have trouble remembering what medication you need to take and when, having a micro-chip implanted under your skin will mean you never have to worry again, thus giving you opportunity to consider the more important things in life.
The micro-chip ingeniously administers a patient’s medication under the skin meaning that both patient and doctor can rest easy knowing that what is needed, is being implemented. Although still in its trial stages, if this eventually becomes a reality it could solve the huge problem that is patients suffering at the hands of forgetting to take their correct medication.
These days, if a doctor is on a ward walkabout it is likely that they will have their computer on walkabout with them. Gone are the days of chasing down nurses for drug charts and patient details; everything a doctor needs can now be accessed in the palm of their hands.
This means big changes for the health profession because when everything is at our fingertips, there is less opportunity for patients to be left waiting and of course, with technology advancements; less room for error. Patients can be assessed, a course of action prescribed and there should now be more time for those much-needed daily pleasantries.
I am sure we can all relate to that feeling of fear when a doctor is telling you something is wrong and yet you are having difficulty understanding exactly what it is. In Laman’s terms may omit some vital information, but in-depth explanations sound like gobbledygook.
Now, with modern technology, a doctor or surgeon can run an app that will explain a patient’s diagnosis in a much more approachable format, perhaps even allowing the health professional to draw on x-rays or detailed medical images.
Many of us respond better to visual learning, so the development of such apps really is an amazing move forward for health professionals and patients alike.
When we think of computer games we could be forgiven for thinking of teenagers locked away in their rooms glued to screens for hours on end. Not really what you might associate with good health. However, in the world of patient rehabilitation, it’s a whole new ballgame – literally.
For instance, with stroke victims, building the strength in their arms back up is an essential part of rehabilitation and studies have found that playing games such as tennis on the Wii could be effective in improving motor function.
It’s not just those working in the medical profession for which things have got a whole lot easier, but also those training to work in it. With the invention – and now across-the-board use – of the iPad, the world seems a much lighter and more interactive place.
Students no longer have to lug heavy textbooks around or spend hours in the library doing research; instead everything from course notes to digital books and presentations is loaded onto their iPads and is available at the touch of a button, making the whole learning process quicker, easier and undoubtedly more focused.
Remote Health Monitoring
Ensuring the numbers for readmission, after a patient has been discharged, are kept low is something that health professionals place a great deal of importance on. Often a discharged patient can feel alone in the outside world, unsure of how to articulate or manage what they are feeling; both physically and emotionally.
However, they may not want to bother their doctor, but may also still crave some kind of reassurance that they are on the road to recovery. A mobile health product such as Pipette allows doctors to connect with their patients, detect complications sooner and ultimately, cut down on readmissions as well as costly medical spending.
A world where humans become obsolete and robots take charge is still pretty far-fetched, but incorporating robots into our lives in a working way, is not.
In the medical world using robotics in surgery allows complex surgical procedures to be carried out in a more precise and minimally invasive way. Gone are the large unsightly scars of yesteryear, in their place are smaller and more concentrated scars and thus a shorter recovery time.
by Rachel Glover