What is healthcare technology?
Healthcare technology consists of tools and applications – such as medical devices, health IT systems, computerized surgical procedures, electronic medical record systems, telehealth, electronic prescriptions, digital order entries, and medical testing. All of these coordinate care and enables better patient health management. The healthcare industry uses this technology to help physicians and medical teams improve care management by streamlining workflows, automating redundancies, and optimizing costs.
Digital technology is helping healthcare organizations transform everyday tasks, like medical reports, by adopting Electronic Health Records (EHRs) that help staff access patient information from an integrated software system. Patient information is stored in digitized form, giving patients the freedom to view medical history, lab reports, and prescriptions. EHRs make it easier for providers to exchange important health data within and across organizations, allowing patients to receive advanced treatment plans that align with historical tests, medical charts, and symptoms. Physicians can now accurately assess health problems, allowing them to develop preventative care programs, reduce misdiagnoses, and lower overall costs due to chronic care emergencies.
Healthcare technology also includes picture archiving systems, which quickly integrate medical images into central repositories. VNAs, vendor-neutral archives, help merge the storage of clinical images from different departments on one primary hold, making large health departments and facilities more efficient in discovering correct diagnoses.
Healthcare technology improves business processes, record keeping, care protocols, and medical procedures in various settings. For example, streamlining administrative tasks with mobile applications that can quickly collect patient information, helping optimize patient flows. Using robotics and virtual reality enhances surgical procedures to assist doctors with advanced techniques and improve patient outcomes. In addition, machine learning algorithms can help pharmaceutical research uncover new insights on drug development, leading to a better understanding of how to advance patient treatments.
Healthcare technology also enables the digital transformation of complex computer networks. For example, APIs (Application Programming Interface) speed up data interoperability and flow across systems, helping connect information within healthcare systems. With increased interoperability, healthcare organizations can understand utilization rates and the services that produce better health outcomes.
Today, healthcare organizations have acquired large amounts of patient data, increasing the need for advanced analytics to aggregate information and uncover more profound insights.
What are the types of technology used to improve healthcare?
The various types of technology that improve healthcare are:
- AI Technology: Artificial intelligence can improve clinical decision-making by producing insights from a vast array of complex data generated from remote devices, sensors, medical imaging, and EHRs. AI uses insights from datasets to deliver algorithms that can assist physicians in uncovering patterns when observing test results. AI algorithms can detect meaningful data that helps healthcare providers make accurate decisions on patient care. Insights on data patterns can improve resources and workflows by fixing inefficiencies caused by siloed systems and data.
- Blockchain: Blockchain systems allow secure transactions between participants. Transactions are recorded and distributed across a shared network, where participants can view information of stored information of transaction records in distributed digital ledgers. Blockchain offers secure networks to improve data interoperability across multiple healthcare systems. Patient data stored in logs cannot be changed or accessed without being recorded, providing safeguards across diverse systems. Healthcare organizations that use blockchain can benefit from advanced data exchange on highly secure decentralized networks, leading to better services.
- Cloud Computing: Cloud computing uses remote servers to store large volumes of healthcare data. Healthcare organizations have the flexibility to manage how data is exchanged throughout IT systems, helping optimize workflows. Data storage can be easily maintained, improving the maintenance of electronic medical records. Cloud technology in hospital and clinical settings can help doctors easily view and share important health data across the continuum of care, improving patient experience. Cloud computing gives healthcare organizations access to valuable data that can be used in other applications, like AI algorithms, to detect previously undiscovered health correlations in patient illness.
Benefits of healthcare technology include:
- Better access to patient health data: The digitalization of patient information allows physicians to quickly analyze important health data, including historical records, improving diagnoses and treatment plans. The healthcare ecosystem is supported by Electronic Health Records (EHRs), giving care networks full access to patient medical history.
- Improved patient education: Telemedicine, mobile reminders, and online video information improves patient awareness of crucial medical information and keeps them up to date with routine care plans. Patient portals keep patients engaged with their doctors and informed on essential test updates, allowing patients to take ownership over their daily health care.
- Improved costs: Data analytics are helping to create innovations in new treatment plans, decreasing the likelihood of chronic illness and reducing the cost of care. The leveraging of digital technology improves the flow of patient health data between important stakeholders, like with cloud storage of EHRs, reducing medical and prescription errors. Disease and cancer screenings have increased accuracy with new technology that uses machine learning algorithms to get the best insights, lowering the cost of treatments.