While the world’s brightest minds are yet to figure out how to commercialize flying cars or fully confirm the existence of an alien-like species, comfort can be found in the fact that we’ve stopped prescribing cocaine for toothaches and heroin for simple coughs.
In the healthcare industry, technology has played a pivotal role in making the treatment of ailments, injuries, and diseases easier. Join us in our analysis as we’ll discuss three ways technology has impacted the healthcare industry!
1. Greater Information Maneuverability
Working as a physician fifty years ago must have carried a permanent risk of paper cuts when you think about the sheer amount of physical paperwork doctors had to sort through. Thankfully, finding information about your patients is no longer so difficult or tiresome.
Thanks to the introduction of EHR (electronic health records), the painstaking process of looking through endless streams of files in a thousand different cabinets is no more. Responsible for consolidating a patient’s medical chart into fully digital documents, EHRs can be accessed in real-time by the professionals responsible for the patient’s care.
Whereas people used to need to travel to their personal physician’s offices to get an appointment, this can now be done from the comfort of your own home. Simply having a stable internet connection allows patients and doctors alike to access a body of information that wouldn’t be accessible fifty years ago and has streamlined communication processes within the scientific community.
2. Superior Patient Care
Besides care practices becoming more streamlined, the quality of medicine has come an incredibly long way. We weren’t kidding about those dubious treatments mentioned earlier; modern medicine has made it much easier to diagnose an ailment and treat it effectively.
What was once unthinkable to many has now become possible thanks to innovations in healthcare technology. Fitbits can track oxygen levels in your blood; heart rates can be monitored live throughout a professional sports game through sports bras; cameras can be safely inserted into most orifices in the human body to ensure everything’s okay; the list goes on and on.
As a result, life expectancy for human beings has ballooned into a figure that would not have been feasible in an era where diarrhea or bronchitis could result in lives being lost or where a snake bite meant you had to lose an entire limb.
3. Task Automation
While this continues to be a contentious subject in many industries, we cannot deny that task automation – whether through machine learning or other forms of artificial intelligence – has been a miracle in many respects. It is no different in the healthcare sector.
We’ve already touched upon the facilitation of data extraction with EHRs. Automation allows medical staffers to get things done quicker and more efficiently, and error margins in all areas have been drastically reduced with task automation. This is a blessing in a field where losing seconds can cost lives.
It could be through providing us with tools for diagnosing injuries or ailments. It could be through reducing the labor work of billing patients. Or it could be utilizing machine learning to increase staff availability when hospitals are overcrowded with patients. There’s no denying that we as a society have heavily benefited from task automation.
Daily life will change as society and technology progress, and all industries – especially healthcare – will change with it. Every new decade is a brave new world. Nonetheless, technological innovation in the healthcare industry has saved countless lives, and in that sense, maybe progress at all costs is not such a bad thing after all.