Advances in technology continue to enhance the healthcare industry. Add to this the changes in the delivery of healthcare that came about due to COVID-19, and you can picture a shift in today’s healthcare system. Will these changes continue or are they just temporary? That depends on whether or not the ongoing advancements in technology continue to assist with how healthcare services are delivered to those in need. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of those technological advances and what they mean in the healthcare industry today.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become and continues to be a pivotal part of today’s healthcare industry. With threats to healthcare growing, AI can be the solution. It can be used to identify strange activity on networks, monitor systems for fraudulent activity, and even predict attacks to those systems based on previous observations. But AI is far more than just an extra security measure. It has also become a valuable partner in the care of patients. Such tools as chatbots and wearable devices have enabled patients to take better care of themselves and record accurate data for doctors and other medical professionals to review. AI has made the diagnosis process far easier and as a result, improved medical outcomes. This is because of the accuracy of the data being collected. Artificial Intelligence is just starting to become active in the healthcare industry and has a great future ahead of it.
Software As A Medical Device (SaMD)
Software as a Medical Device (SaMD) has also provided a huge impact on how healthcare is delivered to patients. These devices provide remote patient monitoring options that doctors and medical professionals utilize over short-term or long-term treatment plans. The patient wears the device and such information like blood pressure, pulse rates, and glucose levels are collected and tracked. This allows patients to be home and function as normal as possible while these devices do their job. It reduces the number of trips into the doctor’s office and allows for remote diagnosis and remedy solutions without having to physically examine a patient. Plus, with the accuracy of the data, SaMDs act as a means to improve medical outcomes. This reduces the strain on the healthcare system and saves money (and lives) in the long term. The benefits of SaMD make them devices that should have a long future ahead of them.
Telehealth has seen much more activity following the self-isolation protocols that were implemented in the early stages of COVID-19. Many hospitals, medical clinics, and doctors’ offices have continued to reduce the amount of contact with patients which has pushed telemedicine into a more useful tool than it originally was. Even after pandemic protocols loosen, the need for telehealth will still exist as it has given access to doctors and medical professionals that have allowed many patients who live a distance from care and those with mobility issues the means to reach and see a doctor. You could say that telemedicine removed the barriers that restricted who could and could not seek medical care. Now everyone has access and this translates to better care across the board. It is because of the ease of access for those who may never have been able to seek medical care that telehealth will have a future in healthcare services.
With temperature-sensitive assets in storage such as vaccines, it is imperative to have efficient and accurate temperature monitoring tools. The best way to achieve this is with cloud-based remote monitoring systems. Dickson notes that cloud-based remote monitoring systems present several advantages when it comes to accurate and efficient monitoring. This is made possible through the use of data loggers. These are electronic devices that can be set to monitor that temperatures remain in the correct zone for the preservation of sensitive assets. Should the temperature get warmer than a pre-set monitoring range, an alert is sent out to permit human intervention to quickly correct the situation. Data loggers operate 24/7/365 and in conditions that human monitoring would be impossible or difficult to implement. Because temperature monitoring reduces the loss of sensitive assets, reducing cost, it will continue to be used well into the future.
All the hype about 5G providing the fastest possible internet speeds on the planet can bring major changes to the healthcare industry. It will not only increase the speed of delivery but the capacity of data that can be transferred from one place to another will be far greater than what currently exists and without delay. The benefits of this powerful communications network will be many in the healthcare world. Not only will massive amounts of data be able to move quickly, but that data may also include huge medical images that were unable to be shared on previous internet networks. The 5G network will also help to expand remote services currently in place including telemedicine, SaMDs, AI, and other patient monitoring tools and initiatives. And that is just the start. As technology keeps evolving, the role that 5G will play in the delivery of healthcare services has yet to be fully realized but has been recognized as having the potential to have a positive impact within the healthcare industry.
Technology has changed how we do many things in the world today. One place where it has had a huge positive impact is in the healthcare industry. It keeps evolving and improving how patients and doctors interact. With doctors using tools that improve diagnosis and medical outcomes, and patients providing better and more accurate data through the use of these tools, the delivery of healthcare services improves. But it took having to take brave steps into technology that had never been used anywhere else. Now, there is a complete technological industry that is dedicated to the creation and manufacture of devices and tools specific to healthcare needs. The COVID-19 pandemic saw a shift to more reliance on technology which has proven to be successful. It will continue to be a successful partner in healthcare well into the future.