Complaints about technology ruining certain aspects of society are rampant, and though sometimes valid, these claims often paint too broad a picture to be factual. Though the media-obsessed world may bother older generations, technology could end up saving the life of even the most strident anti-tech advocates.
Bringing it all Home
Scheduling a doctor’s appointment is something that most people detest, and rightly so. Finding a time that works for your schedule, and that of the doctor’s office, is something that requires flexibility – never mind if you have to reschedule because of a conflict. Also, co-pays and other types of cost sharing make certain doctor visits quite expensive, as some plans require out-of-pocket spend of $50 (or more) to see any type of provider.
Hospitals and insurance providers are incentivized to reduce readmissions under the Affordable Care Act, so the aforementioned hassles for patients are actually being addressed by the industry, albeit for a different reason. Enter the idea of “home-based healthcare.” According to Forbes Medidata Voice, new technology in the medical industry is going to transform the delivery and methodology of healthcare. This technology will address both sides of the hospital visit problem; patient visits will be limited because of preventive care and doctor-patient interactions will be streamlined.
A number of recent products are geared toward this type of remote healthcare, with companies using data and analytics to help doctors and patients connect outside of the hospital room. For instance, Cardiocom remotely manages data for heart conditions, Biotronic uses implant technology to remote-monitor certain conditions, and a number of other companies have products that similarly allow for better out-of-hospital monitoring and communication. Welkin has long been a part of this space, as its products help to increase communication (both within hospitals and between doctors and patients) and limit the need for patient visits.
Part of the success of the recent push for out-of-hospital healthcare technology is attributed to the products being catered to the individual instead of a one-size-fits-all approach. Though older patients and those suffering from chronic diseases are benefiting from technology advances within healthcare, younger people are using the products in a preventive manner. According to Phys.Org, companies are targeting Millennials with a number of products, tapping into the tech-savvy nature of these younger patients.
“We’re already seeing that millennials and younger generations won’t be the same kinds of patients as their parents,” Eric Dishman, an Intel Fellow and general manager of Intel’s Health and Life Sciences, told Phys.Org. “These 18-to-34 year olds already expect to have data and tools to help them manage their health just like they do for everything else in their lives.”
The availability of cloud technology, smartphones, wearable tech, and supercomputers could change the future of healthcare, especially in terms of preventing chronic diseases and certain types of cancers.
“Healthcare reform, information technologies and building out a 21st century healthcare infrastructure…is the space race of the 21st century,” said Dishman. This “space race” will only increase as more attention is paid to it and the related emerging technologies. The difficult to define “internet of things” is now a possibility within the healthcare industry, according to Healthcare IT News. Such a technology revolution is giving healthcare providers a more comprehensive view of someone’s bill of health, as data is tied together to create an entire view of their respective indicators.
Given the current usefulness of technology and data within healthcare, patients and doctors are going to be increasingly introduced to new products that help to ease care and limit hospital visits. Remote monitoring, expedited processes and tech-facilitated communication, among others, will continue to transform the industry.