With 18 percent of India owing at least one wearable device, it is quite amicable to see the future of healthcare in the hands of smart gadgets. However, there are many still many questions unanswered, like will healthcare insurance will become more feasible, technology driven medical devices and wireless devices with cloud solutions will really change the landscape of the future healthcare. And lastly, patients with diabetes, asthma and heart diseases, will see a better life expectancy or will the trend die a virgin death.
Different people different opinions, but till date it is expected from all the corner of the world that smart gadgets are going to dominate the healthcare industry.
Ways Technology Improves Healthcare
Internet- Source of all medical information: Today, with everyone accessing internet, it has become a main source of getting all the medical related research and information. Their search is not just limited to looking up for symptoms, but exploring treatments and medicines on the web. However, it is advised not to believe on everything what is written on the net and skips the doctors, internet has made patients more empowered to make decisions about what to do next.
Social Media- a new platform for healthcare providers: With social media, emerging as new platform, healthcare providers like private hospitals, clinics, doctors and even research facilities are taking advantage of social media tools to reach wider populations. And, experts believe there are quite good evidence that they are going above and beyond.
Off late, hospitals and doctors are using social media to establish contact with patients, answer their queries and launching public awareness campaigns. Taking this into next level, there are also some sophisticated sites which are offering instant chats with medical practitioners and specialist regarding the medical issues.
Enhanced cure and less agony: To not forget, that the most evident way in which technology has changed healthcare, is through the way by providing new techniques, machines, medicines and cure which in turn has improved life of billions patients giving them much better chance of recovery.
With new technology in the hand, experts are making healthcare more effective and help healing patients directly, with more and more research being used in their medical practices.
Improved nursing and employee’s competence: ICT in healthcare has made nursing care for the patients much safer and more reliable than before. Not only doctors, even nurses are using these hand held devices to record patients medical history, which in turn is helping them in giving better patient monitoring and administering the correct treatment. Everything from the admission to discharge, lab test results, records of vital signs, medicine orders are all electronically put into a main database, which can be referred later. As more and more hospitals adopting the technology like EMR and EHR, patients are getting easier access to their own information anywhere anytime.
Not just ending here, these electronic databases also contain great amount of information that is further be used for medical research. Vast patient history, trends in the disease and age group, causes of ailments, additionally helping scientists to study better, a major breakthrough in itself.
Information laced doctors anywhere anytime: A touch away any medical information through Smart phones and notebooks has now become a boon to the doctors. Liberated from the burden of heavy books, these hand held devices has given a new option of searching and easily looking up for any case studies, new medical term and better diagnosis.
Now, doctors are more open to consult any of their colleagues around the world by reaching the m in fraction of seconds through texts, emails, and video and conference facilities. The facility known as Telemedicine, has given a new and improved definition to the healthcare. Telemedicine, especially being used for the patient living in rural and under developed areas, who are risky to move and can’t access good medical practitioner in their areas, so consulting doctors sitting in the metros through tele- conferencing.
Online health information can predict medical trends: By evaluating health terms and information that users search online, search engines have been able to predict medical trends.
“Like, for every person who searches, ‘dengue’ symptoms and signs does not meant that he is sick, but it shows a pattern when all the dengue-related search queries are added together. When compared the query counts, it has been found that many search queries tend to be popular exactly when dengue season is happening. By counting how often we see these search queries, we can estimate how much the disease is spreading in the region.”
Such breakthrough information can help medical experts to respond quickly to the preventive measures and in much better way.
Technology Trends that transform Healthcare
Electronic Health Records: With the phrases like “The Internet of Me” – Healthcare experience becomes more personalized and more convenient for patients. This new trend of putting each and everything online from the time of admission to the moment of discharging the patient, these patients information software has given medical practitioners, nurses and scientist relaxation from the traditional system of keeping thick books and notebooks of records.
With every hospital and clinics, adopting the technology, it has become a new trend for providing better cure and getting good response.
Traditional software implementations are just not capable of pushing seamless updates in near real-time like cloud-based EHRs can. Further, some cloud-based EHR providers also wrap ancillary business- and information-services around the software, enabling doctors to concentrate more on what they do best: practice medicine and improve the quality of life for patients.
Patient Centric Devices: With the platform(R) evolution of healthcare delivery, smarter healthcare platforms provide patients with real-time health information and more self-monitoring through devices like Smartphones and wearable devices Healthcare disruptive technology produces highly connected hardware that increases access to care, patient engagement, and clinical collaboration.
Like, when one did not get enough sleep for day or two. With wearable game in health care as the Apple Watch demonstrated; without any documentation or any extra effort, the device, the device records cycles for later correlation with once own observations. This information further will impact the patient and consumers to manage their own health in better way by creating a measurable feedback-loop.
Along with wearables, it is also expected that in coming years biosensors are advancing to the point at which, they will be not just built into our clothes but may be fixed inside our own body. Say, imagine a patient with high blood pressure, a bio chip detecting his blood pressure in a customized parameters, and then itself regulating an automatic action of balancing the blood pressure. These biosensors, themselves providing the doctors with feedback such as, allergies, side-effects and other chronic conditions from inside the patient’s body.
Patient-centric devices are here not only for bringing awareness among the patients and the doctors, but more importantly personal control of once own health. These devices will create a model of care, where doctors and nurses will be needed at much larger stages; they will be in themselves a healthcare institution. It will not just help the patient getting into the debt by out-of pocket expenditure but they will also save time and distress the patient’s family.
Big Data Analytics & Patient Access: Simply said, ‘Big data analytics’ is anything which begins its digital life or any pice of information once put online becomes big data.
Health care IT enables generation of lots of electronic data; all data combined gives a very insightful real time information on what type and where healthcare need is arising and also helps in preventing epidemics by timely information. The data can also be used for clinical decision support system and preventive healthcare.
The future of prescriptive analytics is nearly unlimited in its scope and depth as developers dream up the technologies of the future. While too many healthcare providers are still trying to claw their way out of locked rooms of unusable EHR data, an industry-wide push towards viewing healthcare big data analytics as the answer to so many critical questions is accelerating the development of an infrastructure capable of becoming the foundation for prescriptive analytics and truly meaningful advances in the quality, timeliness, and effectiveness of patient care.
Smart Devices and Healthcare Insurance
Health Insurance has to expand fully with the flexibility suggested and all the players, specially the Private Sector players, have to be totally involved in writing and developing the business with the seriousness it deserves. Personal lines insurance was expected to get a boost after the market was opened to competition, which has not happened.
Recently, it has been reported that the government is planning to roll out a universal health insurance plan that would give a “seamless solution” to the cashless health schemes currently offered by the states.
Under the proposed plan, the Centre will integrate states’ health schemes with its direct benefits transfer (DBT) platform. The government is already in discussions with states such as Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat that offer cashless health insurance.
In order to launch corporate wellness programs companies like Apollo Life, Tata Consultancy Services, Larsen & Turbo Infotech, Wipro and Accenture have taken several initiatives with the government. There are proven results that about 30% employees have been saved from lifestyle disorders due to obesity and hyperlipidemia etc. due to these wellness programs.
Many programs have been prevented employees from going into depression due to the counselling and yoga sessions which help maintain the peace and sanctity of the hassled, multi-tasking mind. The results are outstanding when it comes to controlling high blood pressure and diabetes in already affected individuals as regular blood tests and medical care offered at the office are mandatory.