Technology has made great strides in recent years. Completely changing the landscape of the world, it has reformed the way people lived.
While technology is good or bad is up for debate, however, no one can deny its service to the healthcare system. From facilitating the healthcare providers, to research, to disease diagnosis and treatment, technology has a positive role to play in all of the different facets of healthcare.
1. Wearable technology and mobile sensors
Not every patient has access to an educated and proficient attendant or a professional nurse. And yet it is important for them to keep tracking their vitals like blood pressure, oxygen saturation, pulse etc.
Moreover, the medical equipment is rather expensive, and a layperson cannot use it well. Furthermore, remembering to chart the information is another hassle that one has to endure. Without this pertinent information, it is very hard for even the top internal medicine specialist in Lahore to be aware of the exact condition of the patient.
Suffice to say, prognosis without sufficient data and vitals is hard. Furthermore, vitals of certain patients need to be constantly monitored since even the slightest fluctuation has important implications for their health.
Wearable technology and latest smartphones have been pivotal in solving this problem. Smart bands are commonly available that chart information about the different vitals of the patients, who then do not have to explicitly gather the data themselves.
Some smartphones also come with such sensors. In the case of an alarming situation, patients can be provided with immediate medical care, thereby significantly improving their chances of healthy living.
2. Portable ultrasound devices
Access to healthcare in remote areas, especially those in the developing world, is very limited. Moreover, in countries with resource constraints, only the main cities carry relatively good diagnostic equipment.
As imaging technology plays an important role in disease diagnosis and maternal health, hence patients are deprived of good medical care.
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One great innovation hence are the portable ultrasound devices. While these are not as good as the proper, sophisticated machine, they get the job done. These devices need just a phone to be plugged into, where the doctor can look at the image and assess the patient.
Moreover, these portable devices are cheap as well. Butterfly iQ, a handheld ultrasound device, costs around $2000, whereas the machine found in most hospitals is listed at around $100,000.
3. Using data for improvement
With heightened social media access and usage, there is a lot information out there for the data scientists to mine. Big data allows to not only keep track of what is ailing patients, but also creates a forum for the accountability of the healthcare professionals, as patient reviews play a vital role in business generated in private practice.
4. Robots for surgery
Robotic surgeries are gaining prominence for their efficiency and their precision. The surgeries assisted or performed by robots also make smaller incisions, hence patient recovery time and experience is also better.
5. 3D Printing
Not only has 3D printing enabled the availability of so many healthcare equipments, but it has also opened a huge avenue for people to manufacture things through. From prosthetics to implants, all sorts of customized medical paraphernalia are made using it.
6. Skin cancer diagnosis
Early diagnosis in cancer treatment is crucial for survival. Total body polarized dermoscopy is an innovation that has allowed for the detection of skin cancer, in a non-invasive way. It involves taking several images of the suspected region using the special cameras, and the doctor can then check to see if its cancerous.
As it is easier to monitor the patient and is easy for screening, it thus also allows for early diagnosis as well.
7. Contact Tracing
With infectious diseases like coronavirus, contact tracing is very important. Several applications have been made and are being successfully used by countries for contact tracing. Moreover, it also sent notifications to anyone who had been in contact with the patient, thereby enabling a larger public response as well.
8. AI-Enable Diagnosis
Artificial Intelligence has enabled for early and accurate diagnosis of different diseases. Many algorithms have been designed and improved that allow for timely diagnosis of terminal diseases like cancer.
9. Medicine delivery system
With several medicines and other paraphernalia, time is of the essence. Blood, organs and specialized medication is very time-sensitive and the contemporary methods of transport fail to capture the urgency.
Hence, drones have been introduced to deliver such medication of critical importance to the patients.
There are so many reasons why the patient cannot physically meet the doctor. Traveling to meet the doctor is hard, especially when the commute is timely, the fuel costs high and the patient is already in a frail state to endure the added burden of traveling.
Moreover, sometimes the doctor is not available. There are many other reasons why meeting the doctor in person may not be possible.
Telehealth has been extremely useful in bridging the physicality barrier. Want to talk to the best internal medicine specialist in Karachi while sitting in London? Done! Furthermore, telehealth has played a huge role in COVID-19, when the clinics etc. were locked down. It is also more cost-effective as well.
Suffice to say, technology has greatly enabled the healthcare system.