Understanding how technology has changed healthcare is essential to stimulating future innovation. In the last two decades, the three most significant changes have included electronic medical records, clinical decision support systems and wearables.
Paperless with EMR
Since 2008, the use of basic electronic medical records (EMR) has doubled to encompass more than 80% of all physician offices. This rapid uptake has defined modern healthcare, changing how we input, store and track health data. By changing records from paper to electronic records, healthcare is no longer confined to a single location.
EMR has allowed us to decentralize healthcare, allowing patient data to be transferred between clinics on the fly. This supports more malleable medical teams capable of utilizing the expertise of practitioners from multiple geographical locations. As clinics move toward increased specialization to cut costs, EMR becomes essential to the future of medicine.
The widespread adoption of EMR has formed the basis of modern medicine and has set the stage for all subsequent technologies.
Saving lives with CDSS
A direct result of EMR are clinical decision support systems (CDSS), advanced programs that track patient data in real time to provide a clinical picture of the patient. Acute changes to vitals, for instance, can alert a physician to an adverse reaction to some medication. More advanced CDSS are also available. These complex programs are capable of providing clinical guidance to help save lives and reduce oversights. CDSS have been shown to save costs in areas such as infection control, which minimizes patient stays by cutting down on bedrest and reducing the chance for hospital acquired infections.
CDSS, however, is artificially confined to hospital settings due to immobile diagnostic tools and equipment. This pressure has led to the development of innovative new tools to track patient health.
Personalized medicine with wearables
Wearable technology has advanced to the point where we can track a number of health metrics outside away from the clinic. By combining wireless technologies, miniaturization and the Internet, small devices capable of tracking patient vitals have been designed to work in conjunction with EMR and CDSS. This kind of health tracking arose from a need to lower the time commitment and logistical hurdle of updating patient data.
These devices can be simple, such as a handwashing reminder, and as complex as a set of augmented reality goggles and earbuds designed to help patients with Parkinson’s avoid a fall from a freezing episode. The cost-saving potential of wearables is immense. Fitness trackers, for instance, have been implemented by insurance companies in conjunction with innovative disease prevention programs. These programs offer insurance premium discounts in exchange for regular physical activity—tracked and archived by wearables.
Incorporating new technologies
Practitioners and patients both benefit from how technology has changed healthcare. Automated technology is among the biggest benefits, stemming from EMR, CDSS and wearables. Networking these technologies together to achieve improved patient outcomes while reducing operational costs requires a coordinated, customized effort. Upgrading existing EMR systems to support CDSS, wearables or even future automated tools requires robust domain knowledge.
So whether you are a non-government organization seeking to bring healthcare solutions to the most remote places of the world or a local clinic seeking to streamline operational overhead, new technologies exist to help meet your needs. How do you implement them? One way is to hire your own in-house team of developers who will work closely with all stakeholders to understand the organization and its needs.
A more cost-effective solution might be partnering with a proven third-party developer. Developers such as Nalashaa have a large catalogue of healthcare IT solutions through engineering, web and mobile applications. They are able to present ground-up solutions or even take existing systems to the next level.
Leverage how technology has changed healthcare by implementing the best tools in your organization.
What is the Wearable Technology Healthcare Needs?
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