A few decades ago, we never would have imagined a world that looks the way it does today, and that’s all due to technology. Technology has significantly transformed multiple areas in our lives, and it continues to impact different sectors every day.
One such sector that experienced massive transformation is the healthcare industry. With the global market valued at $281.1 billion in 2019 and expected to increase at a CAGR of 7 percent every year until 2027, it’s no doubt that the industry has experienced a boost due to various technological developments.
Today, patients can benefit from state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, groundbreaking treatment, and a wide range of minimally-invasive medical procedures that are less painful and result in faster healing. These developments are just the tip of the iceberg as technology has radically revolutionized the healthcare industry and significantly enhanced its operational efficiency.
Hence, technology has impacted the healthcare industry massively. The following aspects further delineate its impact:
Innovative Medical Equipment
If you enter a hospital room, you’ll likely see an electronic monitor that’s supported by an adjustable metal arm on a stand or mounted on the wall. This entire function has only been made possible through aluminum extrusion. Aluminum extrusions are used in multiple healthcare industry areas, including walkers, wheelchairs, medical testing equipment, patient positioning systems, and radiation, and medical imaging.
Characteristically, aluminum is flexible, lightweight, cost-effective, and resistant to corrosion, making it valuable to the healthcare industry. With technology, aluminum extrusion can create highly-specific medical instruments and components adapted according to a patient’s needs.
Digitization of Health Records
Gone are the days when patient records had to be maintained over massive paper files. Today, these hard copies are quickly being replaced by electronic health records (EHR), which significantly improve any healthcare business’s efficiency. These records are uploaded on a secure cloud, where patients and healthcare professionals can access them.
These EHR not only store a patient’s medical history, treatment plans, and test results, but they also contain their contact information, employment history, and any relevant financial information. From 2011 to 2016, there was a 46% increase in EHR usage, and, since then, the rate has only gone up significantly.
Reliance on Big Data
One development that’s closely linked to the usage of EHR is big data. In simple terms, big data refers to a massive quantity of data collected, processed, and used for analytical insights. Through multiple channels, such as eCommerce, online transactions, and social media, big data identifies relevant healthcare trends and patterns.
For the industry, using big data helps reduce medication errors since, through patient record analysis, any irregularities between a patient’s prescriptions and their health can be flagged. Additionally, big data has also helped clinics and hospitals estimate their future admission rates, thereby allowing them to allocate the appropriate number of staff members to manage patients.
The impact of big data isn’t just limited to these benefits since it also plays a role in predicting epidemics and facilitating preventive care by identifying “frequent flyers” of the emergency rooms and creating plans to reduce their likelihood of returning.
Treatments Through Virtual Reality
Once upon a time, if you had asked anyone if people could be treated through a video-game experience, they’d think you were joking. But, here we are today as virtual reality has remarkably changed the way patients are treated.
Today, VR is used as an alternative to medication for chronic pain, potentially impacting people’s dependence on medical drugs altogether. Furthermore, VR is also being explored by surgeons to plan complicated treatments and professionals as a potential treatment for autistic kids to help them explore the world. With VR’s role in the global healthcare market expected to reach $5.1 billion by 2025, this technological impact is only expected to grow.
Introduction of Wearable Medical Devices
Companies have now begun collecting relevant health data from these devices. Today, 80 percent of consumers are comfortable wearing smartwatches that monitor their health data.
Previously, people got annual physical checkups and only went to their doctors if something went wrong. However, people are now focused on preventing issues in the first place, which is how these devices can help monitor patients’ health and determine the likelihood of a health emergency.
These devices, including heart rate sensors, sweat meters, and exercise trackers, can help healthcare companies personalize the healthcare experience. They have also impacted insurance as data from these devices allows insurers to assess a patient’s risk for illness, and patients who opt for preventive measures can access lower insurance premiums.
Rise of Telehealth
The increased usage of telemedicine and telehealth has bridged distance barriers between patients and doctors. It helps doctors cater to customers who may require immediate medical attention and save a lot of time, virtually focusing on patients who don’t need an in-person consultation.
With technological development, telehealth has now made it possible for medical information and images to be transmitted instantly, ensuring that patients can now receive medical treatments in the comfort of their homes.
With cutting-edge developments and the emergence of advanced platforms every day, technology will continue to transform the healthcare industry. For a business to remain relevant in this rapidly evolving industry, it’s essential to stay updated with these developments and incorporate them as quickly as possible.
How do you think technology will impact the healthcare industry in the future? Let us know in the comments below.