Healthcare has been closely linked with technology ever since we decided to trust doctors instead of shamans. Through the course of history, as technology has become advanced and sophisticated, we have found more and more ways to treat ailments. From the discovery of X-ray to the invention of MRI, healthcare has now become dependent on technological innovation.
Now that we are venturing into new frontiers of technology with the advancement of AI, healthcare is bound to be revolutionized. But before that happens, let’s take a moment to appreciate the innovations that are holding the healthcare sector together today.
Electronic Health Records
Think of an Electronic Health Record (EHR) as your complete medical history in one digital place. It’s a computerized record that stores your health information, including doctor visits, medical conditions, medications, and more. EHRs have made it easier for healthcare providers to access and share patient information in real-time, which can help improve the coordination of care and patient outcomes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 88% of office-based physicians use some version of an EHR system for their practice. You can also access your EHR through a secure patient portal, allowing you to review your health history and upcoming appointments.
Therefore, as we can see, EHRs have become an essential tool in modern healthcare, helping to improve the quality and safety of patient care.
Cleanrooms are a crucial part of the healthcare industry, especially in manufacturing and research environments where contamination could compromise the safety and efficacy of medical products. Cleanrooms are specialized rooms designed to maintain a controlled environment with low levels of airborne particles and other contaminants.
Experts who design a cleanroom go through several key steps, including determining the necessary cleanroom classification level based on the desired particle count, designing the air handling system, selecting appropriate construction materials, and establishing protocols for personnel and equipment entry and exit.
As you can see, it is an intricate process that requires a vast amount of specialized knowledge and skills. As a result, only a handful of companies, like American Cleanroom Systems, are actually in the business of designing cleanrooms. Perhaps that is for the better, considering how crucial this system is to the healthcare industry.
Telemedicine is a way for patients to receive medical care and consultation remotely without having to visit a healthcare facility in person. It uses technology like video conferencing, messaging, and mobile apps to connect patients with healthcare providers in real time. This can be especially beneficial for patients who live in remote areas or have mobility issues.
Telemedicine has become increasingly popular, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, as a way to provide safe and convenient healthcare services. McKinsey notes that in 2021, the use of telemedicine increased 38 times the pre-COVID baseline. But even after the pandemic, telemedicine has remained popular among patients because of its convenience.
Wearable Health Devices
Wearable health devices are electronic devices that can be worn on the body, such as fitness trackers, smartwatches, and medical monitoring devices. These devices can track a wide range of health metrics, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and activity level. They can also provide alerts and notifications for medication reminders and other health-related tasks.
Wearable health devices have become increasingly popular, as they can provide valuable data to healthcare providers, allowing them to monitor patients remotely and make more informed treatment decisions. According to Markets & Markets, the market for wearable health devices is growing at a compound annual growth rate of over 13% per year, which, if you aren’t familiar, is a lot.
Robotics has become an essential technology in the healthcare sector, with applications ranging from surgical procedures to rehabilitation and patient care. Robots can perform precise and complex tasks that would be difficult or impossible for human hands. Robots can assist surgeons in performing minimally invasive procedures with greater accuracy and control, leading to better outcomes for patients.
According to Intel, robots are invaluable to the healthcare industry, even outside of surgical settings. They can help doctors and nurses avoid contaminated settings as much as possible while simultaneously automating menial aspects of their duties to boost productivity. Overall, robotics is a key piece of technology holding the healthcare sector together, helping to improve patient outcomes and quality of care.
Some feel that technology will inevitably make human doctors obsolete. But that is not at all on the horizon. The point of technology has always been to enhance our abilities and pick up the slack where we fall behind. Medical technology is no exception. In the future, we will see technology that minimizes error and maximizes the efficiency of doctors. That is a future we cannot wait to experience.