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Technological Advancement in Patient Care

By: Rosa Rios

Forget about writing patient notes on paper charts or handwriting drug indications for patients. Since the introduction of the Electronic Health Record (EHR), patient information management has changed forever. Even though the EHR was initially built as a billing system, health information technology companies have been modifying some components to improve its usability, utility, and user experience. EHRs and indeed, health technology present opportunities to improve accuracy and coordination of care. Health technology is in a transition period where many different contributors will work to facilitate better care.

Since the dawn of the internet, scientists have been developing tools to advance communication. For health care, the development of new medical devices was spurred by growth in the pharmaceutical and engineering industries. Thanks to this evolution, we rely on phones and computers to provide us with instant information about drugs, diseases, and medical research.

Dr. Bertalan Mesko, a medicine futurist, described the ten promising technologies assisting the future of medicine in 2016. One of the great examples of futurist technology in Dr. Mesko’s blog is the daVinci Surgical Robot, which is operated through remote controllers. Surgical robots perform minimally invasive operations that have been successful in many areas of care such as obstetrics, gynecology, general surgery, dermatology, and transplant surgery among others. Minimally invasive procedures shorten hospital stay, patient recovery, and reduce complications such as hemorrhage and infections. Small towns with a shortage of doctors will have the opportunity to benefit from surgical robots operated by a remotely located physician.

Image retrieved from www.intuitivesurgical.com

Mobile technology and apps enhance patient health literacy and help to engage patients. Devices such as cardiac monitors, fit bits, and apps are accessible anytime on our phones and computers. This information from our body can be stored for monitoring or can alert our doctors about sudden changes that can put our life at risk.

Another great example of healthcare technology are Evena Glasses that help nurses locate  veins accurately for blood sampling. Ever donated blood and been left with a giant bruise? Well, say goodbye to those days.

Little devices like these make a trip to the doctor more efficient and pleasant. Shortly we can expect implantable technology that will oversee organ functions and alert us about early changes such as pre-cancerous cells or congenital malformations in utero.

As we can see, health care technology has many advantages. It increases access to care by offering information directly and immediately. It also improves quality, increases validity, and reduces human errors. In conclusion, a diverse group of sciences exists behind the evolution of health technology. In all aspect of care, we depend on coordination of functions and interaction design. These elements cannot achieve completion without excellent communication and collaboration. In other words, communication advances the evolution of healthcare.