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How technology has changed healthcare

Arguably, technology has been the driving force behind many of the improvements in human lives, with technological advancements in healthcare having one of the biggest impacts.

Over the past few decades, healthcare technology has evolved from being just an administrative tool, to being widely used and relied upon in the clinical setting and furthering medical research.

Technology in healthcare has been one of the most rapidly evolving fields over the past few decades. From being only applied in the administrative setting, to clinical care, and even furthering research in the field of medicine, technology has been adopted at a rapid pace.

Thanks to technology, people receive healthcare treatment in better and more accessible ways, more than at any time in human history. Technological innovation in health care has made it possible to improve patient outcomes, offer better and more successful treatments, and explore disease control and health education.

Medical innovations

From the humble hearing aid, to X-ray machines and defibrillators, technology has moved at breakneck speed so that 3D printers for prosthetics and robotic surgery are now a reality.

Better and more advanced medical equipment means healthcare professionals can provide more effective, comprehensive care to patients. Computers are programmed to monitor patients’ vital signs and send alerts if anomalies are detected, both in hospitals and remotely, improving access to healthcare and overall outcomes.

Better diagnostic tools allow patients to have access to cutting-edge treatments a lot faster. More advanced technology is now being used to assist surgeons which makes surgical procedures quicker and more precise, with minimally invasive procedures that result in less pain and faster recovery.

3D printing technology has opened many avenues in terms of healthcare treatment. It’s now possible to print artificial limbs, bio tissues, pills, blood vessels, even medical equipment.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, supplies of personal protective equipment for healthcare staff were in constant shortage until 3D printing production was ramped up. It’s now possible to 3D print living skin with blood vessels, which is a crucial step in providing skin grafts to burn victims. Pharmaceutical companies are also benefiting from 3D printing technology, with FDA approved 3D printed drugs available.

3D printing is cheaper than more traditional methods of developing and realising medical innovations and equipment. More cost-effective treatments and equipment increase accessibility to both healthcare providers and patients.

Data collection and storage

In the not-so-distant past, healthcare professionals would use pen and paper to take notes about patients’ medical history or treatment plans. Patients generate huge amounts of data, which needed to be stored

Today, staff can use handheld devices to record data in real time about their patients, which can also be shared with other medical professionals. The benefits here are obvious – improved patient care and treatment.

Centralised digital medical records include lab results, recent medical events, and critical information about medication use, all of which make it easier for healthcare organisations to track the unique needs of each individual patient. This also ensures there is no room for human error.

With more efficient data collection comes evolution in research. With access to a vast amount of medical data, researchers can dive deep into population health research and work out retrospectively how practice and policy can impact health in certain populations.

This can then be used to spur research into new medical techniques or drugs that can improve health care at a much faster rate.

Improved patient care

The ultimate aim of healthcare is to provide quality care to patients, and technology has had a huge role to play in improving healthcare.

Healthcare and medical training are using technology such as virtual lectures, online exams, and patient simulations, preparing future healthcare professionals to utilise medtech tools more readily for patient care and treatment.

The use of technology has been a huge contribution to patient-centered care. Communication between patients and providers can happen through online portals, email, and text messages, increasing patient convenience and fostering a more collaborative approach to health awareness. Increased access to online medical records and the use of wearable devices and smart app monitors encourages patients to become more invested in their healthcare.

Medical tests and results are performed much faster, leading to a more streamlined process of diagnosis and treatment, improving quality of life and outcomes for many. Telehealth and similar applications of remote healthcare are also tangible examples of improved patient care, particularly for populations living in areas where specialist services aren’t available.

Specific software development has meant healthcare practitioners and researchers can more easily track, diagnose, and report diseases. The International Classification of Diseases, a medical classification list by the World Health Organization (WHO), is one such example.

Technology trends in the medical industry will continue to evolve and keep improving the way healthcare is delivered in Australia. Stay ahead of the trends and contact the IT experts at INTELLIWORX today.

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