As technology continues to evolve at lightening speed, the world is evolving with it. Modern advances in technology are impacting all of the ways that society works, lives and plays. It is also impacting the way people take care of their health. In fact, healthcare and technology coming together has the potential to completely overhaul today’s healthcare system. It’s a good thing, too.
The healthcare industry has been in need of a drastic overhaul for decades and today it faces many new challenges, which include:
- Skyrocketing healthcare costs that are letting too many people fall through the cracks
- Soaring insurance costs that also offer less coverage than ever before
- Less supply, as fewer students want to invest in the time and expense of medical school
- More demand, as the aging Baby Boomer population become in more need of medical attention
A solution is urgently needed, and the intertwining of healthcare and technology is helping create that solution. Modern advances are finally going to force the changes that society needs and make the healthcare industry more proactive, transparent and easier to navigate.
The unification of healthcare and technology is creating new trends and innovative tools that will benefit everyone in need of healthcare
The marriage of healthcare and technology is revolutionizing the industry by creating new tools and exciting new trends. For one, as technology comes into play in the coming years, there will be much greater industry transparency. Having information like costs, quality and coverage literally at ones fingertips will allow people to make informed healthcare decisions faster when shopping for providers. Surprises like out of pocket expenses and unforeseen additional medical costs will be a thing of the past. Plus, as medical histories become digital, doctors and providers will be able to access the information they need easer and faster than ever in order to provide the right care for their patients.
Another trend goes hand in hand with the rise in smartphone usage as more and more healthcare apps become available in the market. People will be able to track their behavior into guide themselves into healthier habits. Many apps already exist that help motivate fitness and nutritional eating. Eventually the trend of self-monitoring ones health might lead to lower premiums, too. In a similar way that car insurance is lower for people who have a record of good driving, new apps could provide that promise to healthcare providers. Many health plans already offer discounts to people with gym memberships, so it won’t be long before using apps to improve health will be seen as a sign of a happier applicant.
An additional trend produced by the coming together of healthcare and technology will be an improved customer experience. The easier access to vital information will lead to patients becoming more intimately involved in their own care. Healthcare providers are already adapting to more customer-centric models, and advancing technology will make it easier in the years ahead.
Healthcare and technology tools promise a better system for everyone
A few specific apps and tools that are emerging to bring in this new era of healthcare include:
Tricoder, which is a portable device that can diagnose a health condition and give more control to patients. It is literally going to put healthcare into the palm of a patient’s hand.
Cellscope, an app that can turn your smartphone or device into a connected digital otoscope to examine the ear. It includes a special scope attachment that fits into the ear while the cellphone sends the diagnostic data to a HIPAA-compliant website that the patient can engage with.
Genome sequencing apps, like one now available from 23 and Me, will be able to provide a patient with ancestry-related reports and genetic information that can help guide medical decisions. Much of this customizable personal data is cloud-provided, too.
Eulerian Video Magnification is a tool that is being studied by MIT. It allows for enhanced magnification of video to study the pulse and blood flow—things that before could never be seen with the naked human eye.
The Quantum computer from D-Wave Systems, which will enable computer processing to literally explode and become millions of times faster using Qbits and quantum mechanics. More data will be able to be captured, crunched, analyzed, and shared in nanoseconds, which will speed up the way healthcare—and the world—works.
Healthcare and Technology. It’s a good combination.
In conclusion, much advancement has been made to overcome the challenges our healthcare system faces. In the coming years, as all of these trends, technologies and tools start working together we will see an industry that is more proactive, patient-centric, affordable and easier to access. That’s a healthy thing for society as a whole.