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Updated by Jeff Nevil on Oct 10, 2017
Headline for Five Incredible Ways Technology Could Change The Face of Healthcare As We Know It
Jeff Nevil Jeff Nevil
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Five Incredible Ways Technology Could Change The Face of Healthcare As We Know It

Technological advancements have had a major effect on all areas of life as we know it, but arguably the most beneficial are the impact these have made on medical procedures and treatments. Whether it be making patient records more accessible or ensuring a regular pharmacy supply, there are many ways in which this could continue to improve.

Connecting The Healthcare Industry To Its Patients

The current system relies on the patient taking themselves to a healthcare practitioner and then to a dispensing chemist in order to receive diagnosis and treatment. In this informative and forward looking talk by Daniel Kraft, he outlines the importance of the role of technology in patient well-being especially with regards to connecting all players in the treatment cycle. Bringing together patients with not only their Doctors, but also their Pharmacists, could improve the adherence of patients simply by giving them increased access to healthcare professionals who can let them know what they need to take, how to take it and when.

Increasing Our Imagination And Ability To Step Into The Future

The perception of healthcare is that it is always going to painfully slow to make a difference. But as Stephen Klasko points out in his TEDx talk, the way to make change possible is first to imagine it and then to make it a reality. According to Stephen and the Institute of Optimistic Futures for Healthcare, in 2020 we will be able utilise Google Glasses and an online database to see our doctor from the comfort of our own home. Technology is incredibly important, but so is using our imagination for how to use it, with so much at our fingertips the the industry only need to open their minds to endless opportunities.

Enabling Automated Quality Improvement in Healthcare

Although this video does not directly relate to technology in medicine, Dr Mike Even's recommendations for Quality Improvement would all be improved with simple and efficient technology. His methodology for improving any system works on a model for improvement called the PDSA cycle (Plan the test, Do the Test, Study the test and then Act on the results), when automated would make data collection and analysis much more insightful and easier to share.

Focusing On The Consumer To Improve Prevention

The healthcare industry, up until recently, has been focused on promoting efficiency and affordable treatments for patients. They have been successful in these endeavours and have increased backroom functionality and lower priced medication contracts. The flaw in this strategy is having margins and not the patient at the centre of their endeavours. This approach can end up with patients not getting the attention and treatment that they need and as a result ends up being less efficient than a more patient-centric system.

This short video shows how digitising healthcare gives the industry the opportunity to focus on prevention rather than treatment. With smart technology available to the majority of Western consumers, the tools for measuring key health indicators, receiving reminders and interacting with healthcare professionals are already in their hands.

mHealth, Wearables and Clinical Trials

In addition to smart phone technology, consumers now also interact with other health-level measuring devices such as FitBits, Apple Watches and many more. These allow people to provide their healthcare professionals with important information that they previously did not have access to. Moreover, it now means that clinical trial volunteers can partake remotely and send important data to researchers more quickly and easily than ever before. As this introduction to clinical trial technology shows, the use of mHealth devices has also had a positive effect on volunteer drop out rates, not just by making data transfer more simple but also by making them feel more a part of the trial as a whole.