The world of healthcare has made rapid advancements over the last decade. From discovering new cures for diseases and improving medical insurance billing procedures, to being able to treat patients more efficiently around the globe, technology has played a major role in the current state of healthcare today.
The Internet: A Major Source of Medical Information
While the Internet has been around since the mid 90s, people have only started to use it as a major resource of medical information within the last few years. Studies show that in 2005, roughly 8 million Americans who used the Internet spent some time looking up health and medical information. In 2009, that number increased to 24 million Americans. This huge increase shows that the Internet has become a main source of medical information that can help determine what type of illness one might have, their options for treatment and what their next steps should be. The Internet is one of the most effective tools of dissemination of medical information. The faster the information can reach someone, the faster someone can receive proper medical treatment.
The Efficiency of Electronic Databases and Management Software
The ability to share information between hospitals and other types of medical care providers has improved dramatically over the last decade, as has the ability to manage finances and government grants thanks to electronic databases and sophisticated healthcare management programs. The services offered by IT Works has helped many healthcare institutions. Hospitals can now easily manage grants they receive, how the money is allocated and track spending with ease. The software and other similar programs have improved the efficiency of operating the administrative aspect of healthcare, thereby cutting down on overhead costs and freeing up more money for direct patient care programs.
Smartphones and Tablets: Easy Access for Doctors Means Better Care for Patients
Smartphones and tablets have improved the way doctors and nurses work within the healthcare setting. Over five years ago, the vast majority of hospitals widely depended on patient charts printed on paper and thick textbooks that often took hours of reading to find the right information. Smartphones and tablets have allowed healthcare professionals to find information they need just by performing a simple search on their mobile device. Major medical facilities also use tablets to update patient information within a database instead of physically writing down information onto a sheet of paper.
The Ability to Predict Medical Trends
Some of the largest online search engine companies, such as Google, have been able to accurately predict current health and wellness trends. For example, Google often compiles the number of searches performed for a variety of flu topics from around the world. Using a sophisticated algorithm, the company can accurately predict when an outbreak occurs and how widespread it is. Using this information, doctors and government agencies can counter outbreaks quicker and use preventative measures to deter future outbreaks.
The Advancement of Social Media
Social media has become a widely used tool for healthcare and government organizations. Various agencies and medical facilities often use social media to warn the general public of potential outbreaks, to answer simple medical questions online from patients and to provide updates about the current status of wait times at a particular hospital or medical facility. By following a hospital on social media, patients can be more prepared for their doctor’s visit, and even avoid having to see a doctor if the symptom is treatable at home.
As technology continues to advance, healthcare will continue to improve. Less patients will fall ill and healthcare professionals will be able to perform their job duties more efficiently with less risk.