Patient safety is the goal of all healthcare practices. When innovating with new technology, patient safety is at the forefront of care provider considerations as they develop new and better practices.
Tech can be instrumental in creating lifesaving care solutions. From the emergence of telehealth as a viable and popular source of care to the advancement of artificial intelligence to protect patient data, tech can lead to safer healthcare overall.
Understand the importance of patient safety when dealing with new technology, then learn how tech innovations are changing healthcare for the better.
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The Importance of Safety Precautions with New Tech
Right now, the sad reality of the American healthcare system is that care solutions are often inequitably distributed, with the threat of cyberattacks massive and looming over new advancements that could improve the availability of care. Facing these challenges, healthcare innovators must carefully balance quality of care with patient safety.
Study after study has demonstrated the disparities in access to care that disproportionately create negative care outcomes for poor people and minorities. Wealthy Americans now enjoy a 10-15 years longer lifespan than that of America’s poorest. At the same time, racial and minority discrimination still lingers in our care institutions, causing worse outcomes in factors like infant mortality rate among certain communities.
Recently, the coronavirus pandemic has served to illustrate the discrepancies in care throughout the American system. Minorities have faced disproportionately heightened risk factors occurring in everything from neighborhood environments to education systems. And the problems have only been made worse by a healthcare industry battered on all sides by a secondary pandemic of cyberattacks.
Healthcare cyberattacks doubled in 2020 alone, with prominent ransomware groups accruing hundreds of millions in ransomware revenue. With the value inherent in digital healthcare records, patients are constantly under threat as new care devices increasingly connect to a network.
But tech can also help keep patients and their data safe. The proper application of technical innovations stands to transform care — if we can get beyond the challenges.
Increasing Patient Safety with Tech
The power of tech has already led to innovations in care that are making a real difference in accessibility and safe solutions. Through platforms like telehealth and AI-powered software, the advancements possible in the healthcare industry are vast and important. These innovations are increasing the accessibility and equity of care to promote greater patient safety.
Among the many powerful tech developments transforming the medical field, the following are leading to greater patient safety:
Telehealth and telemedicine represent the use of virtual care visits with a healthcare specialist. Previously an uncommon tool in serving patients, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the popularity of these services, and the results have prompted a redress of care offerings across providers. Telehealth is instrumental in reaching patients in underserved rural areas and eliminating the health concerns inherent in traveling to visit a care facility. For elderly patients at high risk of COVID-19’s worst effects, for example, telehealth can make even vision appointments possible and safe.
Telehealth is streamlining the availability of patient care and corresponding data. This enables collaborative, interoperable solutions that can, in turn, make care even safer. With the ability to scan, assess, and diagnose patients from a virtual database, patients benefit from care providers who can see a realm of interconnected data points and therefore prescribe better treatments. The result is safer patient care.
Big Data Tools
The modern tech world revolves around big data. Already, the vast amount of patient information assembled through electronic health records (EHRs) and hospital databases reveals a world of informative patterns. Care professionals can use these insights to more accurately diagnose patients and treat illnesses according to specific patient traits.
Jefferson Health in Philadelphia has applied this informatics in their own treatment of patients as they enter the emergency room. With a virtual assessment, treatments can be ordered in the EHR system, where the data is instantly organized and applied to better data models. Paired with the Internet of Things (IoT) wearable devices, enough big data insights can be gathered to inform continuously safer methods of patient care.
But big data tools are often only as good as the systems care providers have for automating and collating the insights they reveal. AI has made significant advancements in recent years, emerging as an invaluable source for data analytics. From administrative processes to diagnostics, AI and machine learning functions to evaluate massive data sets and produce important revelations are essential to the future of safe care.
AI can make patient data safer because AI can scan and assess thousands of data points faster than any human. EHR networks can apply then AI cybersecurity tools to protect systems against unauthorized access. These systems, alongside other practices for health data protection, keep health records out of the hands of cybercriminals.
By integrating these tech innovations, care providers worldwide are building a safer future for their many patients. Companies like PathAI are making strides, applying AI towards identifying new biomarkers and predicting the best patterns of care based on individual patient information. In turn, care facilities are beginning to implement powerful, safe, and specific treatments for people in need.
A Safer Future for Healthcare Solutions
Healthcare is an essential aspect of any flourishing society. Increasing the quality and safety of care leads to benefits that can even save the lives of some of America’s most at-risk individuals, all while creating a safe network of health information. The potential of a secured healthcare system includes revolutionary insights into the human body, all possible because of big data collection.
Telehealth, big data, and AI tools have all led to an increase in patient safety. As they improve, these tools can power a system in which patients own their private information and care providers can analyze massive data sets to make new revelations into care solutions.
The future of healthcare is better with tech. Explore how you can integrate these advancements in your own care or practice for safer care solutions.