Recent innovations in healthcare technology are shaping the future of patient-centered healthcare and technology. The best part of this shift is that these innovations are focused on streamlining care for patients, putting greater accessibility and control into their hands.
But what are these health technologies, and what are their implications on the larger medical industry?
As patient-centered health technology continues to advance, it is altering the scope of what is possible. Here, we look at some of the most game-changing devices and what they mean for healthcare going forward.
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To explore how tech will change the future of care, we must first look at the devices making better care outcomes possible. These devices almost all operate through the power of big data analytics, artificial intelligence, and 5G wireless connectivity. The results are systems that collate and communicate data for accessible treatment insights shared between patients and care providers.
With these tools, the future of healthcare is being streamlined. From health apps to monitoring solutions, there are only a few devices powering patient focused innovations in care. Here we will highlight a few:
Mobile applications for health solutions are taking off in popularity. Made accessible by smartphones and wearable tech, these apps offer all kinds of vital and fitness data tracking that an individual may then choose to share with their care provider.
The availability of health apps means a new level of transparency can be achieved in healthcare. Not only can patients track their data, but they can manage that data and their treatment solutions, all from the convenience of a smartphone.
Telehealth is the digital option for receiving care. It is made possible through mobile devices increasingly on 5G networks, and it allows individuals to contact care professionals from the comfort of their own homes. This technology was instrumental in keeping people connected with their doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic and all its risks and self-isolation demands.
Now, at least 43% of Americans want to continue using telehealth even after the pandemic. The accessibility and convenience of telemedicine platforms are too beneficial to discard, taking healthcare down an increasingly virtual path.
In line with the digital shift, patients can now increasingly use digital signatures in their medical paperwork. While these might not seem that revolutionary in managing care, digital signatures actually have a lot to offer patients in terms of accessibility and patient protection.
For instance, the use of digital signatures gives electronic health systems a trail to follow to authorize the identity of signers. From here, care providers are better positioned to comply with HIPAA standards while mitigating the need for patients to come into an office and expose themselves to illness just to sign some paperwork.
Patient portals are another evolution of democratized healthcare that is gaining in popularity. These tools give patients a user login from which they can then schedule appointments, message their providers, pay bills, and more. The result is a streamlined management process for medical information for patients and providers alike.
With patient portals, patients are more empowered than ever before in navigating and understanding their care. This is but one of the many ways healthcare is moving in a more democratized, patient-focused direction.
Electronic Health Records
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are the basis for modern medical information storage. These records are kept in private medical databases where access is only possible for your care providers. However, that is not always the case with the risks of cyberattacks so high.
But EHRs are changing, making for safer data and, in some cases giving patients ownership of their information. This happens through tech innovations like blockchain systems, which allow data to be stored on a decentralized basis and locked through interlinked cryptographic functions. In the future, this might mean medical records that expertly balance quality with patient data safety.
The Implications for Future Care
All told, these technologies are changing the future of care in several ways. The focus on big data accumulation and analysis means patients worldwide can look for better care solutions. Meanwhile, the accessibility of care through modern devices is making for a more equitable care marketplace. With benefits like these, healthcare as a whole may transform.
While no one can predict the future, the rapid evolution of tech that puts care information and options in the hands of patients carries the following three major implications for the future of care:
- Greater accessibility. Healthcare in the U.S. isn’t exactly known for its accessibility. However, tech trends like telehealth and blockchain EHRs stand to remove barriers of access for many. Whether that means removing safety risks or travel costs, more people will be able to get the care they need.
- Better treatment. Smart devices gather immeasurable amounts of data all the time. With the right analytics tools, care providers can safely study this data to draw more connections regarding illnesses and treatments. The data generated can even power more diagnostic tools over telehealth, allowing for better treatments for everyone.
- Safer patients. Finally, technology makes for safer patients due to its ability to assess individual situations and reveal common patterns. This is even true for data safety. For instance, AI algorithms can constantly evaluate medical record access points and prevent potential breaches. Meanwhile, medical professionals can assess new avenues of care through data-generated insights applied directly to the patients’ data.
These implications will undoubtedly lead to better care for all of us as time goes on. The digital shift tends to make healthcare cheaper and more accessible. Meanwhile, new methods of storing data stand to democratize the ownership of medical records. In the future, this could mean that each of us keeps our private access keys to our medical information, which we can then take with us to specialist care providers all around the world via telehealth.
Tech is opening up the medical field, allowing for more equitable and accessible care. Explore these innovations as you look to implement these benefits in your own practice or even your treatment.