Guest Post By Ashley Wilson
With a wealth of knowledge at our disposal, how has technology changed the way we look after our health? Are we more inclined to look up a symptom online before going to the doctor? How is the availability of technology and digital health changing how we behave and how we receive care?
New Technology is Changing the Health Industry
Never in history has there been a more exciting time in health and wellness. Thanks to strides artificial and virtual reality, surgeons can now perform operations remotely on patients across the globe.
Medical students can learn standard operating procedures with the help of virtual reality programs before they are ready to work with real patients.
New hardware solutions make it possible to 3D print bones, organs, and casts that reduce healing time by over 30%.
And, there’s an increasing number of IoT devices and technology readily present in the medical field, meaning that the amount of data we are generating on a regular basis is also growing. 5G networks will become vital in carrying the data load.
The emergence of 5G networks will eliminate network overload
Internet connectivity enables doctors to conduct face-to-face appointments online, making it convenient for people without easy access to care to address health issues. It also allows physicians to consult specialists when there may not be one in their area – meaning patients can get quicker care.
This is especially important for patients living in rural areas that often have less access to quality or specialized healthcare in their area. While 4G networks are already in use, they often can’t provide the speed necessary for quality service. As 5G networks become standard, these issues will be less common, and more patients and providers alike will be able to leverage the internet as a means for quicker, quality healthcare.
Technology has also made us more informed patients
Thanks to the feedback provided from patients and clinicians on the frontlines of care, healthcare innovators can improve the tools, machines, and technologies that make the areas of medicine, mental health, physical fitness, and nutrition better than they’ve ever been before.
The role of the informed patient has evolved, too, thanks to more affordable personal health technology options such as connected weight scales and fitness trackers.
Wearables provide valuable biofeedback about a person’s health outside the four walls of the hospital. While companies such as Garmin and Fitbit didn’t seek to diagnose health issues, they have definitely contributed to advancements in the way patients communicate with health professionals.
Thanks to fitness trackers and similar wearables, healthcare professionals now have access to important medical information and lifestyle habits such as sleeping, calories spent, and heart rate levels.
Access to patient-generated health data eliminates much of the guesswork and makes it easier for doctors and clinicians to discover health issues and intervene accordingly.
Demand for this technology and an emphasis on self-service healthcare has given patients more power over their own health and well-being than in the past.
Although brand name technologies exist with steeper price tags, more affordable options with lower price points make fitness trackers, smartwatches, and other wearables affordable. This is offering more people the opportunity to monitor their health at home with the devices they choose and identify behavioral changes to improve well-being.
Patients aren’t left to guess what progress they’ve made by increasing activity levels and decreasing sources of stress because they can measure it on their wrist or through their mobile devices.
With a constant command for our time, money, and attention, it’s hard to keep up with the world. Stress, a natural reaction to modern lifestyles, takes a toll on our health and shortens our lifespans.
Part of the appeal that comes with new technologies is the time they save us. They remind us to focus on our health without going out of the way to do so. Gamification that’s embedded in many wearables, for instance, helps us stay motivated and reach our health goals, like a certain step count or number of calories burned.
Even Greater Strides in Healthcare Developments
From smartphone apps that remind people to breathe deeply, take regular breaks at work, and drink water, to more innovative tools like the virtual reality headsets that help doctors better understand the patient experience, giant strides have been made to empower everyone involved in medical processes to make physical and mental health a priority.
Whether you embrace the newest healthcare technology trends or criticize them, one thing is certain: they can improve your patient/doctor relationship significantly.
With added pressure to see more people each day, healthcare practitioners are often the first to applaud timesaving technologies that allow them to streamline many of the manual processes they did in the past in favor of faster, digital options. As these tools are integrated into clinical care to create a partnership for patients and physicians, we can expect to see changes in personal health for the better.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ashley Wilson is writer for hire, covering business and technology topics. She has been known to reference Harry Potter quotes in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.
This piece was submitted as a guest post to Validic. Validic neither endorses nor makes any claims as to the accuracy of the statements made in this post. The author’s contact information is provided for follow up.
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