Ever since medical researchers in the 20th century started using computers to compile and compare data, information technology has been playing a very important role in healthcare. From that initial focus on research, healthcare IT has been shifting more towards administration and interactive patient care. Technology has really helped develop what we are able to do to help the health of others. It has also really helped change the way we are able to take care of our patients as well. Now we are allowed to do all that we can to make sure that our patients are as happy, safe and comfortable as possible. It really is amazing to see how much the tech industry in healthcare has developed over the years. It truly has been able to make a huge difference in so many different ways. Here are five ways IT has changed the world of healthcare.
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Electronic Health Records
The field of healthcare IT was formalized when electronic health records were introduced to clinics and hospitals, which eventually moved lawmakers in the United States to pass the Healthcare Information Protection and Portability Act. Electronic medical records started as a way to improve the complex tasks involved with insurance billing and reduce paperwork. It has definitely helped make organizing records a lot easier for everyone. Once clinical practitioners saw that they could access the entire medical background and medical history of patients with a mouse click or screen tap, the world of healthcare was made far more efficient than it used to be.
Even though the Google Glass project was shelved a few years ago due to privacy concerns, the tech giant has not completely given up on the idea of perfecting wearable computers. In 2013, an American surgeon wore a sterile Google Glass headset during a procedure. The wearable device streamed the surgery live over the internet for the benefit of students who could also hear his comments. Wearable computing devices such as smartwatches are also being used to record pulse rates over extended periods. Moreover, engineers are working on developing sensors to keep track of insulin levels and antigens. This type of technology is really going to help transform the way those in training are able to learn, study and practice.
Modern medicine has been implanting objects into the human body for many decades. From orthopedic screws to internal pacemakers and embedded electrodes, medical procedures involving implantation have become commonplace. The next stage of implantation involves microchips. This medical development started in the 21st century and is already showing a lot of promised in the field of clinical trials. Microchip modeling involves implanting very small processing devices that can record medical data related to pharmaceutical therapy. Health practitioners get very accurate information with microchip modeling, which has the added benefit of reducing the reliance on using animals for clinical testing.
Embryonic stem cells have been produced in lab settings for a number of years, and the techniques used resembled the technology known as 3D printing so much that researchers are now interested in modifying these printers for the purpose of printing heart tissue, skin, and even cartilage. Medical researchers believe that artificial organs could be printed by 2050 from a combination of polymers and stem cells. This development may sound very futuristic, but the fact is that heart tissue has already been developed in this manner, and it has also been implanted in laboratory rats; the next step will be to test it under veterinary conditions.
Improving Digital Experiences for Patients
The current data cables installed in hospitals and clinics can be used to vastly improve the patient experience with digital informatics. Patient engagement systems are healthcare solutions that can be delivered via digital touchscreens for the benefit of patients and their families. These systems are similar to existing data solutions used by medical practitioners. For example, medical records that can be accessed on a tablet from wireless data networks. Engagement systems give inpatients an easy and comfortable option to order meals, monitor their recovery, communicate with staff, stay in touch with their loved ones, and more.
The five technologies above are only the beginning for healthcare. Even though it may seem as if we have come a very long way since researchers first used computers, the reality is that we are only getting started with the implementation of technology to make us healthier. As technology gets more and more developed so will medicine and healthcare. Technology will definitely be able to change the way doctors and nurses are changed. It will also change all that they are able to do. It will be really interesting to see how much technology will change the healthcare industry in the years to come.