So what technology is understood, and can be effectively applied to everyday medical care?
In a world where daily news is constantly touting the latest advancement in technology, it’s normal to think medical care and artificial intelligence will soon cross paths, paving the way for unprecedented leaps in efficiency and cost. Will we soon be able to mend broken bones in seconds? Or complete brain transplants with little to no effort?
While movies and the media at large may paint such a picture, many doctors believe much differently. Instead of seeing the advancement of AI and other technology as a paradigm shift from traditional healthcare methods, doctors welcome the ease these technologies will bring to other processes. Doctors would rather not put the care and responsibility of human lives in the hands of technology that isn’t yet well understood. So what technology is understood, and can be effectively applied to everyday medical care?
The proliferation of the internet has entirely transformed the way we communicate on a global scale. Once upon a time, the idea of video calls was considered science-fiction, rooted in mere imagination and the yearning of a civilization yet unaware of its possibility. Today, video calling is done on a daily basis, with people from numerous careers utilizing the quick and easy access to instant communication.
While historically, radiology has been used in medical care to allow the transmission of images from one place to another, today’s internet speeds allow for much, much more. In fact, many patients today can access healthcare without even having to leave the comfort of their own homes.
The ability to get trusted, verified medical consults from doctors all around the world has been a boon to both patient-side and doctor-side proceedings. Time from both parties is saved, with patients not having to physically travel, and doctors not having to give up too much meaningful time in their day, allowing them to serve those who may truly be in need, versus an overly-cautious patient. Doctors may also instruct patients on how to perform certain processes themselves.
The advent and advancement of wearable technology is also changing the way doctors can access information from afar. From heart readings to blood pressure, to sleep patterns and much more, a wealth of data may be securely provided to doctors, giving them valuable information without taking too much time, as wearables may passively collect this data over a meaningful period of time.
With so much information accessible to doctors, they may also initiate patient referrals to other doctors without needing to meet in person, further streamlining the patient care process.
The last three decades of technology have brought forth an era where most of the world’s developed population possess a smartphone. While there may be some crossover in the importance of smartphones in the way of apt communication between patients and medical practitioners, there are many advantages specific to smartphones as well.
Most important of all is the quick access to information from smartphones. Granting doctors and patients the ability to securely access personal information allows for faster processing of information for both parties, especially in emergency situations. Its effectiveness is further amplified by wearable devices that may automatically synchronize their data with said smartphones, quickly giving information on bodily measurements that may help a doctor in saving their patients’ life.
With the industrial age came the continued advancement and refinement of extremely precise, accurate tools. Such machinery has allowed for doctors to perform surgeries that were once thought impossible. Wielding impossibly thin blades, lasers, and a plethora of other precise equipment, these computer-controlled machines allow for a level of precision that is simply impossible for humans to achieve.
Such precision has allowed for equally unprecedented recovery times and the advent of complex procedures requiring extreme accuracy. As refinement of this technology is furthered, medical procedures benefiting from them will continue to increase in efficiency and lower in cost, becoming more accessible to those in need.
As technology becomes more and more intertwined in everyday proceedings, engineers and doctors alike have come to realize patients may respond better to certain stimuli. This especially comes in handy when having to prescribe medication that requires adherence to a strict time table.
In the past, pill organizers have been used to help in sorting and taking medication on a rigid schedule. However, they were little more than customized plastic containers that at most, had physical indicators on them that could easily go unnoticed.
Today’s technology allows for containers that use audio and visual reminders for patients, as well as real-time notifications that contact both the patient and medical practitioner. This allows medical practitioners to know if their patients are taking their medication as prescribed, and also helps patients in remembering to take their pills.
While perhaps not the most impressive of technological applications, it is extremely important, as it allows medical practitioners to immediately know of any deviations in their patients’ behavior. They will be able to rectify a lapse in their patients’ medication immediately, as opposed to weeks later, when the situation may be more dire. This results in lowered medical cost, waste, and more efficient care overall.
Like every other pillar of society, the advancement of technology will continue to shape and form how medical care can best be provided. From applications that have been used extensively, to processes that may rely on technologies currently in testing, there is no doubt better care and better service can always be achieved. While no one on earth can truly tell the future, today’s well-trained medical practitioners are of the opinion that though technology is a huge boon to medical practices, it should never replace the human touch. At least, for the foreseeable future.
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