By Devin Partida, technology writer and the editor-in-chief, ReHack.com.
Healthcare technology is experiencing something of a golden age at the moment. The world is undergoing an unprecedented period of technological advancement, and the medical industry is at the forefront of this revolution. One of the most promising instances of this trend is the adoption of virtual tech in healthcare.
From virtual reality (VR) to teleconferencing to 3D modeling, virtual technology takes many forms. Nearly all of them have applications in the healthcare industry. These technologies show so much potential that 96% of medical centers plan to expand their use within the year.
Here are five of the most prominent ways virtual tech is pushing healthcare forward.
1. Reducing Exposure to Contagious Diseases
Perhaps the most popular application of virtual healthcare is telemedicine. Patients can consult medical professionals using videoconferencing technology. Since they don’t have to go to a hospital, they don’t have to expose themselves to other, potentially contagious patients.
The reduced need for hospital visits has proven particularly advantageous during the COVID-19 pandemic. Telemedicine interactions increased 37 times over from February to April, during the height of the outbreak. Virtual communication allowed people to access healthcare without risking contracting the virus.
2. Reducing Medical Costs
Eliminating frequent hospital visits can also save patients a considerable amount of money. An emergency room visit costs $1,917 on average, and not every condition warrants a hospital trip. By contacting medial experts through virtual healthcare instead, patients can avoid many of these expenses.
Hospital fees aside, telehealth saves patients money through reduced travel times. In a nation where health care costs are a widely publicized and controversial concern, anything that allows for affordable care is welcome. Some people won’t even seek medical attention due to financial troubles, so monetary savings could also save lives.
3. Making Expert Care More Accessible
Virtual tech in healthcare can also improve the quality of care patients receive. In some areas, especially more remote or impoverished locations, patients may not have access to expert care. Tech like teleconferencing and even remote-controlled medical bots can allow the world’s top doctors to help people virtually anywhere.
Hospitals can also explore the advantages of new tech or services through virtual exhibits and demonstrations. These interactive spaces allow staff to experience the benefits of a new system before paying for them. That way, hospitals can make informed decisions about purchasing new healthcare tech and possibly upgrading their services.