Mar 31, 2020 10:23 AM EDT
There's a lot that is frustrating about healthcare, but at no point in human history have we been more able to treat a variety of ailments and illnesses. People are living longer and healthier lives than ever before.
In most cases, we have technology to thank.
Here are five ways technology in the 21st century is making healthcare better than it has ever been before.
One of the most frustrating things about modern healthcare is the fact that one person may see a variety of specialists, depending on what illnesses or ailments they have. Although you may have a family doctor, you'll see a different doctor if you develop heart issues if you need your knees replaced, or you're struggling with allergies.
It's important that your doctors know when you're seeing another healthcare provider, especially if you find yourself in a doctor's office outside of town. Real-time patient notifications can make sure you get the care you need, no matter what doctor you see or what hospital you end up in.
These programs notify your existing healthcare providers whenever a healthcare event occurs. They can work with your current doctors to make sure you receive the exact care you need, and they can communicate with other doctors about the kind of care you may require when you return home, all without any explanation from you.
Your medical history is important. It includes information about illnesses and conditions that run in your family, but it also includes all of the health challenges and events you have experienced throughout your lifetime. Keeping track of your history can be a big job, and it can be a big pain to rehash your entire health history every time you visit a new doctor.
With today's technology, patient medical histories can be documented and retrieved with the click of a button. Systems at multiple offices are integrated to enable doctors to access your information nearly anywhere. If an office isn't currently connected to the network, a simple call enables your doctor to send along your information to a new specialist without the need for you to fill out paperwork on every medical event you've experienced-again.
Managing patient information is difficult for doctors and medical offices, but they aren't the only ones struggling with this important information. It can be difficult for patients to keep track of their own information too!
Patient portals make keeping tabs on personal healthcare a lot easier. Instead of filling calendars and searching for important contact information on the internet, patient portals can enable you to do things like:
Request referrals to other offices
Change insurance or contact information
Ask nurses and doctors questions through secure email
When you aren't feeling well, the last thing you want to do is get dressed, drag yourself to the doctor's office, and wait in the waiting room for who knows how long. With modern technology, you may not have to.
Telemedicine enables you to schedule an appointment with your doctor from the comfort of your own home. With a webcam and a microphone, doctors can diagnose a variety of minor illnesses so you don't have to take time off of work or spend time in an urgent care clinic where you could be exposed to germs.
However, it is important to understand the limitations of telemedicine. It is best used for patients with existing conditions or consistent health histories, and it's important to double check that your insurance covers telemedicine appointments.
No list of tech improvements in the medical field would be complete without mentioning the treatments that are possible thanks to amazing medical devices and equipment.
People who normally may not have survived just a few decades ago are able to live long and happy lives. Pacemakers use electrical pulses to make sure the heart beats normally while insulin pumps have helped millions of people worldwide make sure they can manage their blood glucose levels. And that just scratches the surface. Many more devices are being used day-in and day-out to improve patient outcomes and increase quality of life.
Healthcare is ever-evolving, and thanks to technology, doctors and nurses are able to treat many more ailments than at any other time in the past. You can bet that as technology evolves over the upcoming years, we'll see even more improvements to conditions that once seemed untreatable.
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