As technology revolutionizes one industry after another, health care is no exception. Whether it’s lab tests, consulting with doctors via smartphone or tablet, conducting self-registration at a hospital, or many other tasks, it’s clear technology is changing health care in ways almost no one imagined only a decade ago. While the changes have indeed been numerous, there have been four ways in which technology has had the greatest impact on the health care industry.
Electronic Health Records
In 2009, only 16 percent of hospitals used electronic health records. However, by 2013 that number jumped to almost 80 percent. As medical office software from such companies as AdvancedMD has become more specialized, it has been able to integrate more and more functions into its systems, such as medical billing, practice management, scheduling, and more. By doing so, it has created a more centralized and efficient way to process and maintain patient records. Useful in both hospitals and doctor’s offices, it’s expected to be more widely used in the years ahead.
Used more and more in rural settings, telemedicine allows patients to have visits with primary care doctors and specialists they may otherwise never be able to see face-to-face. Many clinics are setting up email systems where patients can have direct contact with their doctors whenever an issue arises. What makes this technology so intriguing is its ability to reduce costs. For example, insurance claims can be automatically generated, but traditional office costs for employees can be eliminated. Some studies have suggested that patients having access to this service have mortality rates as much as 26 percent lower than other patients, suggesting the possibilities can have quite an impact.
A way to help hospitals lower or eliminate employee costs, self-service kiosks can now allow patients to register on their own, make payments, review their medical records, and much more. While some hail this technology as innovation, others worry about it making the health care experience even more impersonal.
While it sounds like science-fiction, wearable technology has become a reality. In today’s world, patients can now wear bandages that relay information letting doctors know if a wound is getting infected, or wear a sensor that indicates if a patient falls down and needs help. According to industry experts, the wearable medical device market is growing at a rate of nearly 17 percent annually, with no end in sight.
There are many other things out there today that influence technology in the medical world. It is constantly changing. It has taken many leaps and bounds over the last decade and even over the course of the last year. Modern technology will help us establish more health care practices that will allow us to live better and longer lives. With the growing demand to make health care services more efficient and patient-friendly, these and other technological advances are sure to do that and much more in the years ahead to live fuller and healthier lives.