Advances in technology have impacted almost every industry across the U.S., but nowhere have the changes been so dramatic as in the healthcare arena. Technology hasn’t only made healthcare more streamlined and efficient; it has saved lives and improved the overall quality of life for countless people around the world. Those positive changes show no signs of slowing down as technological innovation continues unabated.
Notable Technological Advances Over the Past Decade
The biggest technological innovations in healthcare over the past decade include the following.
- Digital Health Records. The shift from paper-based to Electronic Health Records (EHRs) has had a profound impact on the healthcare industry. It has streamlined workflow, reducing the burden of physicians and clinical staff tasked with documentation; improved patient access to medical data, allowing them to retrieve their medical records easily and giving them the ability to catch errors; improved patient care by automatically alerting physicians to potential health issues; helped promote new treatment solutions; and lowered healthcare costs.
- Cloud-Based Platforms. The shift to cloud-based technology solutions has resulted in vast amounts of data that can be collected, stored, processed, and used for analytics. Data analysis offers many benefits, including the development of new drugs and treatments; improving efficiency and quality of care; reducing healthcare waste; lowering costs; preventing premature deaths; predicting epidemics; and improving patient quality of life.
- Information and Communication Technology. Smartphones, email, telemonitoring, and telemedicine systems have been embraced in the healthcare industry thanks to the development of information and communication technology (ICT), which allows physicians and patients to connect remotely, widening the scope of care for people in rural areas where specialists and facilities may not be available. Telehealth and telemedicine have been game changers, giving healthcare providers the ability to monitor symptoms remotely, reducing wait times, improving access in rural areas, and increasing the efficiency of healthcare delivery.
- Smartphone Apps. Mobile apps are available for practically anything you can think of these days—including healthcare, which has become one of the fastest-growing markets. Smartphone apps provide patients and healthcare providers with flexibility. They are especially useful in chronic care and prescription medication management, diagnostics, medical reference, fitness and weight loss, and mental health, among others.