Advancements in technology have led to a massive evolution in the healthcare industry over the years. Today, medical professionals can use technology to diagnose and treat a wide variety of medical conditions more effectively. Patients can also take advantage of technology to improve access to medical services and take control of their health and fitness. Increasingly digital tools are being used by healthcare providers and patients to make healthcare accessible anytime and anywhere.
With this in mind, here are three key ways that technology is making it possible for healthcare to more effectively fight the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Telemedicine is a fairly old concept. However advances in technology (such as smart phones, consumer broadband, 5G networks, etc.) have started making it more readily available to patient consumers as well as making significant impact on the healthcare sector. Broadly speaking, telemedicine enables medical professionals to treat patients remotely using telecommunication devices.
Telemedicine has proved extremely valuable for patients who live in remote areas or who are unable to travel to healthcare facilities for various reasons. Being able to treat patients over the internet can save the healthcare industry significant time and money and reduce patient waiting times.
As the number of people infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus ticks up, telemedicine and virtual care will play an important role in containing the spread of the virus. More importantly, it can help communities and health systems better manage the anticipated flood of patients caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
According to the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, telemedicine was first introduced around 50 years ago. It has evolved massively during this time thanks to smart devices with the capacity to produce high-quality video and audio transmissions.
2. Medical Education
Another major benefit of the internet is that healthcare professionals now have far easier access to online qualifications and courses. Today, medical professionals can earn an undergraduate degree and even study a postgraduate diploma online from anywhere with a stable internet connection. The greater flexibility offered by online courses makes it far easier for individuals to gain the qualifications needed to secure a role in healthcare.
Online courses have also made it easier for healthcare workers to develop their skills and knowledge while in employment. For example, Arora Medical offers a great selection of RCGP CSA online courses designed to equip medical professionals with advanced knowledge to broaden their skills and enhance patient care.
Many professional conferences and public events are being canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, including the giant HIMSS global conference and exhibition which usually draws 45,000 attendees. With today’s technology, trainings and educational conferences can continue to be held via live webinars, online conferences, CME courses, and on-demand videos.
3. Healthcare Apps
Patients now have access to an extensive variety of healthcare apps that can help them monitor their health and meet their fitness goals. These apps can be downloaded onto any smart device and used to improve an individual’s overall health and wellbeing.
Here are some of the most popular healthcare apps on the market today:
- Couch to 5k – This app was designed to enable people with no prior running experience to run 5k in just nine weeks.
- Fooducate – This app helps people monitor their diet and weight by providing a detailed analysis of the food they consume as part of their daily diet.
- Fitbit Coach – This app was built to act as a personal trainer on your phone. It can be used to create personalized workouts, develop fitness goals, and provide motivation to stick with your exercise routine.
Patients or traveler who may have been exposed to COVID-19 can also be asked to download a healthcare app to help with monitoring for possible symptoms of the coronavirus. They could be used conjunction with fitness trackers, wellness devices (e.g. digital thermometer, blood pressure cuff…), and vitals sensors. They can also be used for geolocation. This could allow providers and public health officials to better understand how the disease spreads as well as to monitor a large number of patients and to track those under self-quarantine.
It is clear that technology has had a significant impact on the healthcare industry over the years. Overall, technology has advanced the quality of medical care in today’s society and enabled healthcare professionals to treat and diagnose medical conditions more effectively.
Medical technology has also allowed patients to improve their overall health and gain easier access to medical services, such as through healthcare apps.
Finally, it is also giving us the ability to better handle epidemics like the coronavirus outbreak. It gives us continued access to healthcare and healthcare education while containing the spread of the COVID-19 disease.
We look forward to seeing how medical technology will continue to evolve and enhance healthcare in the future!