Future-proof Healthcare – Health Records by Vivek Tiwari
The past two decades have seen the delivery of healthcare undergo a transformation with the advent of medical technologies, especially those based on AI (artificial intelligence), ML (machine learning), Big Data, AR and VR (augmented and virtual reality). The pandemic has given a boost to the adoption of medical technology, with digital healthcare on the fast track. As the COVID risk decreases with the progress of the vaccination program, healthcare institutions will need to make MedTech an integral part of their DNA to be sustainable and ensure they continue to provide patient care.
Collaboration breeds speed
A key aspect of the pandemic was the speed that was injected into the development process. We have seen vaccines that would require a 5-7 year development period, clinical trials and approvals before they are available for use, hit the market in less than a year. What has contributed to this speed are organizations around the world that have come together to collaborate and innovate. And this collaboration is expected to continue not only with vaccines and drugs, but also in the field of medical technology as it develops by leaps and bounds.
Increase accessibility and affordability through medical technology
Medical technology can help address the challenges facing healthcare today, the most critical of which India faces are accessibility and affordability. During the pandemic, the rapid acceptance of telemedicine with virtual video consultations has helped many patients across the country stay in touch with their doctors and continue to receive medical advice during lockdowns. In the future, this will continue to promote accessibility, as patients in small towns and rural areas can access specialist medical advice through telemedicine. The integration of medical devices with the Internet of Things (IoT) will also help reduce the cost of delivering healthcare anywhere and anytime and make the concept of remote care a reality.
Another aspect of medical technology that will help reduce healthcare costs is allowing physicians to focus on important aspects of their work and automating repetitive and administrative tasks. This will increase clinical efficiency and help reduce costs. Using big data through smart devices and wearable apps will also help preventative healthcare by promoting positive lifestyle changes.
Use of blockchain
Blockchain refers to a series of blocks of data linked by cryptographic signatures and stored in shared ledgers supported by a network of nodes. While the use of blockchain in healthcare is still in its infancy, some applications such as electronic medical record management (EMR) have shown the potential to streamline processes, reduce costs of health care and improve access to information. Some areas where blockchain can be used in healthcare include EMRs, personal health records, health data protection, and genomic management.
Medical devices and Big Data
There is a growing integration of medical devices with the Internet of Things (IoT) helping to improve patient outcomes at lower cost. Wearable medical devices with AI-powered virtual technologies are also overcoming the limitations of distance to bring physicians and patients closer together. Smart wearable devices, health apps, and health trackers help maintain overall health and wellness through lifestyle changes to prevent disease. The mining of data through devices and the analysis of big data data results in data points and indicators that are used to develop preventive health care and wellness strategies.
Providing health care that stands the test of time
Hospitals and healthcare facilities will undoubtedly need to continuously invest in new technology, but they will also need to ensure that they have a data management policy in place with an IT infrastructure to support it. COVID has shown us how important data and technology are to tackling healthcare challenges. It will allow hospitals to operate safely during a crisis. Smart devices relaying information about the body and its interaction with the environment can help us prepare for and respond to events. Along with the power of AI, healthcare can be prepared for a digital future encompassing the delivery of preventive and curative healthcare, medical devices, in vitro diagnostics, and digital health solutions. These are smart technologies that complement human processes that will help make healthcare future-proof!
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