After the last few years of a global pandemic, and the resulting pressure that is being put on many care providers, health is something on the forefront of most people’s minds today. Whether you are a health worker or dealing with an illness yourself, you know just how vital communication is to the success of treatments and the dealing of ailments. Interestingly, the health restrictions of the pandemic, while slowing down certain aspects of health care, also motivated many providers to think outside the box, to see how they could improve their facilities in order to keep in touch with patients while also keeping them safe. As in many industries, necessity was the mother of invention.
The health care field adopted various innovative ways to hold appointments and consultations, keep open the lines of communication with their patients, and support ones through their treatments and therapies. Latest technologies with their advanced capabilities are proving to be an invaluable lifeline in the field of health care. From medical answering services to video conferencing consultation appointments, technology has transformed the medical field in more ways than one. In this article, we will take a look at the various ways that technology is helping to connect patients to health care they need.
Primary Care is Going Virtual
If you have needed to have advice from a doctor over the last two and half years, you’ve likely been on the receiving end of a virtual doctor’s appointment. While initially this was done out of necessity for the safety of staff and patients during the pandemic, it seems like this method of healthcare is here to stay. In some cases, patients actually prefer a virtual appointment, due to the convenience and speed at which you can receive the help and advice you need. While also enhancing the experience for the patient, virtual care also is a lot cheaper to operate, reducing costs and improving the work environment for health professionals too. Many experts and organisations agree that virtual care is the future.
Checking Patients from Afar with RPM
RPM, or remote patient monitoring allows patients to keep track of their biometric data at home. This technology is even part of some smart watches that are commonplace today. Recently, the FDA approved a pill that contains a digital sensor in order to track whether patients have taken their medication, the data of which is sent directly to their doctor. RPM is saving lives, becoming a valuable tool in the treatment and monitoring of serious health problems with the potential to become useful in all variations of both interventional and preventative care. RPM allows both patients and doctors to gain insightful data about their everyday health which enables them to make informed decisions about their treatment moving forward.
Making Treatments More Specific with Precision Medicine
In general, medications are created with standard dosages yet every body reacts to medication differently, meaning that these pre-set dosages are not what every individual needs. Precision medicines, also known as personalised medicine, throws “standard” out of the window by tailoring medication to the patient by analysing genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that can affect the success of a particular medicine. Many pharmaceutical companies today are using artificial intelligence to analyse a patient’s data to design medicine specifically for them, based on predictions as to how people may react to the treatment for diseases that they don’t even know they have yet! This empowers physicians to be able to treat patients as unique individuals, prescribing medication that is bespoke for them and their specific needs. This greatly improves the experience for the patient and reduces the waste created by medications that are discarded because they are not achieving the desired results.
Supporting Patients Through their Care Journey
A patient’s journey of seeking medical care is not an easy one. From the moment symptoms start, there’s either a process of denial or anxious overthought. We’ve all been guilty of googling our symptoms, but we often find this turns into a rabbit hole of worry and worse case scenarios. Now that primary care is turning digital, patients can access reliable, quality information approved by experts. They can logically analyse their symptoms and seek personal recommendations, reducing a lot of the stress that typically incurred with online diagnosis. Virtual consolations can be booked with a professional care provider and even the follow up can be made easier with communication technology. Patients can stay connected to their care provider to ensure the journey to health is kept running smoothly. There is even innovations that are bringing virtual health care to our smart TVs, as Samsung recently announced a platform for patients to access their doctor from the comfort of their sofa.
The Future is Digital
In this day in age, it’s critical that people can access medical care quickly and in an affordable way. Not everyone has the circumstances to leave their home, or their workplace, to wait in quiet waiting rooms in order to attend lengthy appointments that result in an astronomical bill on the way out. Technology is influencing massive innovations that are transforming the way that doctors can help their patients, and that patients can get the help they need. Most likely, as in a lot of industries after the pandemic, health care will follow a hybrid model with both virtual and in person care. This will help to alleviate some of the pressure currently on the health care system as well as the expense. More and more people are feeling comfortable using technology to assist their health, as the downloads of medical apps shot up by 65 per cent in 2020. Clearly, the future is digital and while it might’ve felt uncomfortable at first, both health care providers and patients alike are seeing the benefits to virtual medical assistance. Innovations in communication technology have vastly changed and improved the way that health care is both received and delivered, allowing providers to focus on their patients’ needs and ultimately leading to better outcomes.