All of us can play a very important role in the future of medical industry and related monitoring or management services as well. We have crossed that age and time where we used to be more reactive than active. To be prepared for a heart attack or stroke or any other sickness is the right way to go instead of responding to a health problem that takes us by surprise. You don’t have to wait for your blood pressure check or your vital signs or your lab reports or EKG to come in. To date the most frequently and commonly used machine that has facilitated maintenance and upkeep of medical records is the fax machine. Despite the significant growth that we have witnessed in electronic health records or practice management software, the healthcare industry continues to use paper as the primary mode for saving medical information.
What Does That Result In?
- Most medical prescriptions are still written on paper.
- We are still stuck in paper charts despite the advent of modern technology.
- Due to lack of the will to adopt quick software or real-time monitoring we still end up waiting for hours in a doctor’s clinic for our appointment.
- When patients go to see their doctor for the appointment they don’t really remember their condition or any of their medical data or symptoms.
Health Care vs. Sick Care
This is called being stuck in the “sick-care” routine. If we don’t move on to more advanced technologies and adopt better and more efficient ways of monitoring patient health before the condition of the patient begins to deteriorate we will probably end up bankrupting our countries.
We see all of these technologies gradually converging into one and coming into a compact device known as our smartphone.
Are Smartphones Our New Medical Devices?
The computational power of technology advances every two years or so and our devices get faster and more affordable by every passing day.
A few concepts that have gained more popularity lately and promise to make healthcare monitoring easier are:
- Big data
- Increased user engagement
- Advancements in telecom
- Mobile applications
- Various sensors in our portable devices
- Networks and computing technologies
- Social networking
- Artificial intelligence
- Nanotechnology and many more
Explosion Of Connected Healthcare Technology
When you walk into an Apple Store for example or any kind of gadget store that provides you with products that let you keep a look at, optimize and track your activity you can easily spot at least a hundred of such gadgets just hanging in there calling out to you at very affordable prices. As per a survey conducted in the year 2015, there are now over 318,000 healthcare apps available on both Android and Apple App Store worldwide.
By Just Picking The Right One It Can Help You Stay On Top Of The Most Important Aspects Of Your Health Such As
- Your sleep hours
- The number of footsteps you take in a day
- The number of kilometers or miles you walk in a week
- Your heart rate that could indicate a healthy or deteriorating blood pressure level Potential for diabetes
- The number of calories you’re eating or drinking
- Tracking your cardiac issues if you’re palpitating too hard
The Changing Face Of Healthcare Wearables
Data is changing into different forms and has now taken a new shape which is of wearable tattoos, epidermal electronics, implants, and also in the form of electronic pills to be swallowed and would facilitate real-time health monitoring any time, any day no matter where you are. These kinds of analytics and prediction methodologies will be able to make us understand our own health better and would give us an early warning light, and will even let us call the emergency services if we meet with an accident.
Over 318,000 healthcare apps are available on both Android and Apple App Store worldwide.
Understanding Technology Enabled Diagnostics
A doctor’s bag contains a lot of gadgets such as a medical tricorder, glucometer, blood pressure machine, otoscope and dermatoscope, even condition-specific apps, brain waves stimulator, EKG machine, pulse oximetry tracking appliance and weight and BMI monitors. But all this is going to evolve when technology changes in the coming years. There is going to be a massive influx of big data and those numbers and statistics will require a specific kind of understanding from our physicians, doctors, and surgeons.
With these advanced healthcare monitoring wearables, we will be able to predict and measure epileptic episodes or diagnose multiple sclerosis and be able to prescribe medicines before any MS flare-up. There will be more ways to integrate this data and we will need more competent and skilled physicians to understand and analyze this data. And for this data to be useful to everyone, including the patients and healthcare organizations, our physicians and care providers we’ll need to adopt these technologies and understand them.
Technology In Healthcare Therapeutics
Haven’t we talked about telemedicine and telehealthcare before? We have and we can now see several healthcare organizations offering physician visits through the use of smartphones and tablets. In the future, it is expected to decrease the overall medical costs and provide a much better experience
- Heart patients can now stay put at a place when they have a serious heart condition instead of going back and forth to a medical facility
- Artificial intelligence system is expected to perform a better job than your regular psychiatrist
- Therapeutic modalities will be the new norm as experts project that ultrasound will be blended with MRI to detect tumors or uterine fibroids so that the patient can get a focused ultrasound and get these lesions removed without any invasive surgeries
- Our pacemakers are also getting smaller and more powerful and they are going to be beneficial for our heart our brain and also our GI tract
- Some pacemakers are going to be designed as long term birth control which could be easily turned off with an app on your smartphone
All these advancements will be made feasible by artificial intelligence and robotics.
3D Printing Takes Us To The Next Level Of Healthcare Management
3D printing is becoming bigger as we speak and have begun to impact healthcare significantly. If a patient suffers from a fracture or any kind of deformity or is in need of a new hip or a brand new joint, those can be printed through 3D printers and the best part is that every object would be a perfect match for the individual’s anatomy. Best use of 3D printing would be to replace deformed, amputated or infected body parts that cannot be restored through regular surgeries or cosmetic procedures.
Technologies are merging very quickly. And the backbone of it is always the software that powers the hardware, enables the technology, and makes critical analytics useful. Our physicians and doctors need to become innovators and inventors. By leveraging mobile technology and combining it with healthcare prediction and management we can make the monumental shift in this industry from episodic and reactive to a more continuous process. The new approach is not going to be responsive but preventive.
(Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Zapbuild)
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