The transition towards digital medicine took place before the pandemic and was facilitated by it. More and more consumers changed how they get medical assistance and adopted digital innovations that are predicted to stay beyond the pandemic. According to McKinsey’s Consumer Survey, 40% of respondents are likely to continue to use telehealth at a greater or same level.
Sensing new areas of improvement and business opportunities, the healthcare industry has started to increasingly provide technology-enabled services. Healthcare technologies encompass any solution that is aimed at improving medical care. From virtual reality to mobile apps, healthcare software development is revamping the industry. Let’s go through top technology applications with the health sector.
3 ways technology can help improve healthcare provision
1Promote service availability
In today’s environment, technologies allow us to access different services immediately. We can shop, order delivery, or visit a concert while staying home. Having a smartphone and Internet connection can provide people with the same availability of healthcare services.
Many believe that a successful e-health system requires complex technologies when a mobile app can be as effective. It is expected that the mobile medical apps market will reach $20.7 billion by 2027. With its help, consumers can schedule doctor visits, track medication intake, access their health records, and many more. Moreover, patients can call a doctor and have a consultation.
Another example is wearable devices, electronic gadgets connected to the Internet and can be used for remote health monitoring. They can constantly monitor a patient’s health indicators and share this information with doctors. This data can be later used for better diagnosis, improved treatment, or immediate alert if the patient’s state of health suddenly worsens.
Remote patient’s monitoring can significantly benefit those patients who are located at a hefty distance or with chronic conditions. Applying technology-based monitoring for such patients can substantially improve the quality of their health and life.
One of the challenges is that not everyone can afford the necessary tools to leverage remote healthcare services. Many people nowadays have smartphones, but not all have the most updated software versions. Health tech providers should make sure that a mobile app works on the majority of devices. As for the wearables, they should also be produced at a reasonable price.
2Provide assistance with critical procedures and processes
There are a handful of examples of technologies helping healthcare industry players. Speeding up the drug development process, assisting during surgeries, helping identify the disease and many others. Here are some of the key examples of how technology enhances traditional medical operations:
- Electronic health records (EHR). It allows moving all the patient’s data from paper to digital format. EHRs allow to set up a digital database, where all the medical information, including vital signs, age, test results, allergies and more, is stored online and can be accessed within minutes with the swipe of a finger.
- Disease detection and drug development. MRI scans, x-ray, and ultrasound techniques have been around for a while. However, doctors can detect disease at the early stage by applying innovative approaches to genetics or other important diagnostic fields. For example, AI can detect cancer earlier and with bigger accuracy than a doctor; it also can be used to analyze how a medical component will deal with certain diseases.
- The extended reality for medical personnel. Virtual reality (VR) can help medical students to gain necessary practical skills. It allows students to feel like they are performing the surgery. Such immersive training can be also beneficial to skilled doctors too. It can help them to understand and prepare for the possible scenarios and difficulties that may arise during the future complex procedure. Augmented reality (AR) can also be beneficial during operations. It adds an additional layer to the real world, thus allowing doctors to see patients’ entire autonomy, resulting in better results of the surgery.
- Robots for medical processes. With the spread of COVID-19, the sanitation and disinfection of surfaces in hospitals became even more critical. Robots powered by ultra-violet can destroy 99.9% of all bacteria in an average emergency unit for less than 10 minutes. Embedded with built-in maps, they can help to deliver medications or laboratory samples within a hospital. Robotic surgical systems provide greater precision and can be leveraged by doctors for multiple medical procedures, including orthopaedic, bariatric and other surgeries.
3Facilitate mental health management practices
According to the HBR report, 42% of respondents have experienced mental health decline since the pandemic started. Technology can play a vital role in improving mental health. Mobile apps can grant access to mental health services round the clock and for people of different ages. While some therapy sessions may require payment, it is still less expensive than face-to-face ones.
VR comes across as the technology that can help with the treatment of mental health problems. An immersive environment can be applied to treat the severe phobia. For example, patients undergo a sequence of actions during which they are carefully exposed to their fear. During such therapy, patients slowly recover from trauma and getting rid of the negative thoughts. Apart from psychological treatment, VR can be applied to pain treatment. In such cases, patients are experiencing VR events while doctors treat their wounds in real life.
Healthcare technologies have been revamping the industry and will continue to do so in the future. Those who want to thrive in the changing environment should focus on health tech innovations that increase access to care for patients from different ages, locations, and socioeconomic statuses.