The 2020 pandemic was a wake-up call for the entire medical sector and in the wake of it, there has been a steady rise in the number of medical facilities that have adopted digital healthcare solutions for their business. Medical institutions that were facilitated with quality digital health technology and services were clearly better equipped to handle the sudden rise in the number of cases, and have managed to provide patients with quality personalized healthcare and contain the virus more effectively. If there is one thing, the healthcare industry learned from this crisis over the past two years, it is the fact that technology is here to save the day.
Innovation is the key to digital healthcare, and what makes it the key to the future of healthcare is that technology keeps rapidly evolving and upgrading to meet the needs of the hour. It is scalable, flexible, secure, efficient and reduces the waste of human labor, time and effort, thereby ensuring that the establishment can direct its resources where it is needed the most, in offering the best possible care for their patients. Digital health technology has proven itself to be a huge boon, not only through the pandemic crisis but also has revolutionized the entire medical and healthcare sector in a number of ways. Here are a number of focus areas and key digital healthcare trends we have observed over 2022.
Remote Treatment Facilities
While tele consultation gained some momentum around the 90s, however, it has been primarily rudimentary until digital health technology took over. But soon with the pandemic and the risks of the spread of the deadly virus, remote treatment was the need of the house. Thus, the popularity of tele consultation and telemedicine has gained immensely over the year. With the help of superior AI technology, it is now possible to offer accurate and effective medical advice round the clock. Chatbots have been designed with AI, that are equipped to handle patient queries efficiently, and guide them towards the right medical direction, or request them to seek urgent care as per the case, ad the entire thing can be accomplished with minimal human interaction. This has not only helped people access proper medical guidance from the comfort of their home, it has also reduced the pressure on emergency medical assistance, as non-emergency cases can be handled remotely
Remote treatment facilities are of immense help for those who are disabled, senior citizens or those who stay far from a hospital, as they can get their basic medical care via tele consultation. It has also been of great use in underdeveloped and remote areas, where basic medical facilities are miles away.
Wearables and Healthcare Apps
One of the most popular developments of digital healthcare technology comes in the form of wearable medical tech. With the trend known as the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), wearables making use of the internet of things (IoT), have gained a lot of traction over the past year. Smartwatches are one of the most commonly purchased and gifted health wearables, that can help one track everything from exercise to sleep quality to heart rate with blood pressure and even set reminders at designated intervals for medicine or water. Usually connected with apps, they can even be linked with digital weighing scales to offer a complete analysis of one’s body and lifestyle. It is a great tool to motivate one towards fitness, compare progress over a period of time, and keep a track of basic health.
Other common medical wearables, such as blood sugar and glucose level monitors, heart rate trackers, sweat meters, oximeters etc are often prescribed by medical sub-professionals to help people with chronic health conditions and high-risk patients keep a constant tab on their values at all times. These are extremely effective in keeping the symptoms under control, as well as to alert and issuing warnings to seek immediate help, thereby reducing the risks that come with delayed medical attention.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Artificial Intelligence (AI) comprises of a wide range of cognitive technologies along with machine learning (ML) algorithms and the use of technology to design services that can effectively mimic human cognition, including the ability to make decisions in an emergency and taking necessary action as per the needs. Applied in the field of healthcare, AI can be a potent tool that can offer urgent intervention and emergency medical attention, personalized intuitive patient care and advanced guidance.
The use of AI in healthcare can be approached in a number of different ways. It can be used to create highly intuitive chatbots, that serve as virtual medical guides and basic diagnostic tools, offering people round-the-clock assistance. Another form of AI assistance comes in the form of robot nurses or assistant droids that can deliver medication as per set schedules and aid patients in certain tasks, reducing the pressure on the medical staff. Advanced AI is used AI in the areas of precision medicine and drug creation, medical imaging and genomics, in order to craft tailored treatment plans for patients, who need specialized care. With intuitive pattern recognition features, it is highly useful in predictive healthcare to create better and more effective medication plans and combinations, for complex cases such as antibiotic resistance.
Robotics In HealthCare
The use of robotic technology has brought about groundbreaking progress in the field of healthcare. Using highly intuitive and cognitive artificial intelligence, robotic surgery is now not just a possibility, but a reality. It is highly precise and lacks any risks of human errors, and thus, its rate of success, particularly in complex microsurgeries is extremely high. This opens up a whole new world of surgical procedures that can be done with smaller incisions and an overall easier experience for the patient, chances of higher success for the medical staff overseeing the operation as well as reducing risks of contamination and infection.
Robotic automation is not only efficient and precise, but also, highly cost-effective. This can help high-quality medical care reach remote and underdeveloped areas, where there is presently a lack of necessary medical infrastructure. With robotic technology, patients there can have access to emergency medical help, generalized healthcare and surgical procedures at a fraction of the cost it would require to build traditional facilities.
Data Security And Cloud Storage
With digitization, every single health record of every patient is now stored in the servers, to be accessed, updated, retrieved and shared as per the needs. However, that brings up a serious question of data security as a single breach can lead to the disclosure of highly sensitive patient data, and put the medical institution in violation of several health laws. Moreover, often it can lead to discrimination against the patient and affects their chances of getting the care they need. It is important for a medical facility to have a highly streamlined patient filing system granting customized access of patient data only to authorized personnel. This has given rise to the need for advanced high-end data security to ensure that every patient’s health record and information stay strictly confidential.
All the top medical institutions are investing in superior cloud storage systems and high-quality healthcare IT providers to ensure data security to protect their records from any security breach, as well as firewall protection and against hacking, data mining and data theft.
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