As new technology emerges and older technology evolves, we find ourselves facing a number of new situations and changing dynamics. Not the least of these is a radical new relationship between doctors and patients, boosted by abundant new tech.
No Appointment Necessary
This is what the changing face of healthcare looks like: 73-year-old retiree Gary Sullivan wakes up and starts his daily routine. He realizes he has a question for his doctor, but rather than make an appointment for what would be a five minute consultation, he whips out his laptop and types his question into his doctor’s electronic health records platform.
By the end of the day, his physician will have replied with an answer, saving his doctor time that could be better spent serving patients who are truly in need and sparing Sullivan a trip to his local clinic. Everyone wins, and the process is incredibly efficient.
Opening Up the Door
Innovation doesn’t end with increased communication, though. The internet has done wonders for informing the populace, allowing patients to find information in many corners of the web. Patient health records that were previously shrouded in mystery, hard to get and harder to understand, are now easily accessible for many patients who can log right in and see their data spread on the screen before them.
As many as half of all adults in the United States can now see this information online, cutting out the need to wait on doctors and nurses to find and release patient information. The internet has opened up the drip of information, transforming it into a tsunami.
An Equal Playing Field
Where before doctors felt inequitable in their knowledge, now learning is open and free. In today’s world, anyone with an internet connection can look up recent innovations in the medical industry or even earn an online master in nursing, leading to a shift in the power dynamic between patient and doctor.
Patients may have read up on new breakthroughs before their doctor, leading to a leveling of the playing field. This in turn has contributed to a shift toward a more casual relationship with doctors, lowering them from unquestionable and unapproachable to much more human. When patients feel comfortable having an open dialogue with their doctors, health improves.
Phone, or Medical Tool?
Dr. Eric Topol, cardiologist and author of The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine is in Your Hands says in his book that the majority of the information collected at an annual checkup can be gathered with your smartphone. He’s put this statement into practice: most of his patients carry a sensor which, when placed on a finger, will transmit data to their phone to produce a cardiogram.
Phones paired with biosensors can record blood pressure, glucose rate, respiration rate, brain waves, heart rhythm, and more. Technology continues to advance; soon, we may see smartphones that can capture X-rays or ultrasounds.
The Information Age has seen many revolutions, and healthcare is just one field where we’re seeing an evolution driven by advancing tech. The face of healthcare is getting a much-needed lift, and as more people plug in, we’ll no doubt see more and more improved health across the populace.