Over the years, advancements in technology have significantly changed how businesses operate. This is especially the case when you consider how the healthcare industry has developed over the last several years.
Today, healthcare technology has provided several advancements in the medical field. Newer technologies like wearables, AI-driven chatbots, stem cell technology, and 3D printing solutions are beneficial for both doctors and their patients when it comes to healthcare treatments. However, there is a darker side to this technology in the form of risky and experimental procedures that lack appropriate regulations. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the latest developments in healthcare technology along with the pros and cons of each.
Electronic Health Records (EHR)
The digitization of patient health records and the deployment of data scientists has significantly improved the efficiency of how patients are treated. EHRs help to reduce the risk of errors in diagnosis and medical history by replacing the need to manually update and store physical records. Electronic health records also make it a seamless process to collect, store and transmit healthcare information at the push of a button and through connected IoT devices, minimizing administrative delays and reducing the lead times to prescribe adequate patient care.
There are, however, potential downsides when it comes to the use of electronic health records. For example, computerized records make it possible for cybercriminals to get their hands on people’s highly sensitive information in the event that they’re able to breach the systems that store the data. Thankfully, there are laws and regulations in place such as HIPAA and the 21st Century Cures Act that hold companies accountable to how they manage EHRs to prevent this from happening. However, threats still exist in the digital world, and although EHR has provided many benefits, it can equally create problems to personal security if not properly protected.
Genomics refers to the study of both the structure and evolution of human genomes. The Human Genome Project (HGP) is a global collaboration of scientists and medical professionals to gain more information on this important topic.
There have been several great discoveries that have come from the advanced technologies that drive genomics. Some of these benefits include a deeper understanding of serious conditions and diseases that have led to new treatments and cures. This technology has also supported intelligent drug modification, using genome information to create more effective treatment solutions based on the individual.
HGP has also been put under much scrutiny of late. Not everyone views genomics as a beneficial solution to patient care. Due to the nature of genetic analysis and modification, the technology that drives genomics is looked at by many as ruining the natural sequence. There is also a question of privacy when it comes to how HGP shares their information, and a lack of government regulations in this area can be difficult for many to accept.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning technology have been game changers for the health industry. Deep-learning medical applications that are driven by AI help to provide an important role in accurate treatment queries and suggestions that help doctors and nurses make better-informed decisions about their patients. Machine learning helps to fill the gaps between data collection, analysis, and actionable insight.
While machine learning tools and applications help to automate many aspects of healthcare, any form of autonomy is susceptible to errors. In a hospital setting, these errors can have serious consequences, including patient misdiagnosis, incorrect medical prescriptions and faulty monitoring equipment reporting. Another challenge in machine learning can be the ability to interpret accurate results from the technology. Learning curves with technology can take time, and there is a high chance that developers will need to constantly be involved in checking the accuracy of the equipment, taking away from the care of patients.
In recent years, a new trend has developed in how people are getting the medical attention they need. Telehealth is the use of mobile applications and services to access health care services from the comfort of their own home. The goal of telehealth is to make medical services more accessible and convenient for people who have less mobility or who live in rural or isolated communities.
While telehealth and telemedicine may seem like a great solution, there are many regulatory and industry barriers to this technology. Because every state has different laws when it comes to patient privacy and the use of EHR transmissions, there are many inconsistencies to ensuring this new technology is safe to use. Lack of physical examinations can also cause roadblocks when it comes to prescribing accurate treatments and can still be very restrictive for anything beyond minor health conditions.
Healthcare technology will continue to transform the way doctors and nurses interact with their patients. But as these new advancements are introduced, it’s important that society as a whole continues to insist that due diligence is taken to ensure these solutions remain practical and safe to use, both physically and virtually.