The Ways Technology Is Changing Healthcare Now And Beyond
Technology is changing healthcare in a variety of ways, from the way doctors and nurses communicate with each other to how patient records are stored.
Within the next few years, technology will have an even greater impact on healthcare as it continues to advance.
Technology is taking over in the healthcare world and all medical fields. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been used for years to help doctors make diagnoses, but now it’s becoming a more popular option in hospitals and doctor offices around the globe.
AI can be programmed to do many things that humans are required to do like diagnosing patients and even administering medication at times.
In addition, machine learning is being used by institutions such as Google Deepmind Health or IBM Watson Health to enhance patient care through the faster diagnosis of complex health issues.
As technology advances so do the possibilities of what it can achieve for us all including better treatment plans, preventative care, and even cures! Imagine a time when we have advanced enough where there isn’t any need for surgeries.
From the way patients are treated to how they receive their medical diagnoses, technology has influenced every aspect of medicine and will continue to do so in the future.
The changes that have already occurred due to technology are vast, but there is still more room for growth as new innovations come along. For example, some hospitals now use robots instead of humans for certain procedures because they can be programmed with specific instructions and they never tire or make mistakes.
In addition, doctors are able to diagnose their patients from across the country through video conferencing software that allows them to access information about a patient’s health history before seeing them in person.
Technology has made an impact on healthcare by changing how people receive treatment. This post outlines some of the ways that technology has changed health care so far, and what we can expect in the future.
Artificial Intelligence In Healthcare
One of the most significant ways that technology has influenced health care is through AI. We trust AI systems to perform many medical functions, such as dispensing radiation for cancer treatment and performing keyhole surgeries via remote-controlled robots.
In addition, scientists have developed a new deep learning algorithm that allows them to identify signs of breast cancer from mammograms years before humans would be able to catch them.
In 2016, Google’s DeepMind trained an AI program by feeding it over 100,000 cardiac images labeled with pathologies or benign findings. Within a week, the system was capable of diagnosing heart abnormalities on its own using 3D modeling techniques.
Doctors are beginning to use artificial intelligence in other aspects of their work as well – one example is a new AI-based system that can diagnose a rare disorder called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis
Most recently, a team at Mount Sinai Hospital used artificial intelligence to diagnose heart conditions from chest X-ray results with better accuracy than experts. The team used deep learning neural networks to analyze over 50,000 chest x-rays and pinpoint 12 signs of conditions such as coronary artery disease.
A recent study conducted by Accenture found that 39% of surveyed US doctors said they were either “somewhat” or “very” confident using machine learning technology – up from just 25% in 2017. However, one drawback is the time it takes for these technologies to reach widespread adoption: 33% of respondents cited lack of evidence, and 32% said the systems were not yet mature.
Virtual Reality In Healthcare
New immersive technologies are popping up all over the place, including VR. A project called VirtualMed aims to use VR, AI, and IoT to help improve the healthcare industry. The team plans to create VR simulations that allow doctors to practice surgery before walking into an operating room for real.
One study at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine found that students who trained with VR technology developed more positive attitudes towards people with disabilities than those who didn’t use it.
Students also felt greater empathy when working with patients in virtual reality compared with traditional training methods.
“When it comes to empathy, these results indicate that experiences within virtual environments may offer new opportunities for medical education,” said Dr. Eric Whalen, principal investigator on the study.
The study used a VR simulation narrated by a veteran surgeon, walking students through several real-life scenarios. For example, they showed a video of an infant with spina bifida and hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain).
One group had the opportunity to carry out surgery within the virtual environment, while another was shown less immersive 2D images as they would appear on a screen – similar to some of the videos you may have seen before.
It was found that those who had completed operations in virtual reality felt more confident and satisfied with their experience than those who just watched recordings. These positive feelings then transferred into better attitudes and empathy when faced with patients for real.
Teaching children also seem to benefit from using the technology. Researchers at the University of Konstanz wanted to see if immersive virtual reality therapy could help children who were scared of heights, and so afraid of going on school trips.
The structure they used was similar to the studies previously mentioned: three groups, one which saw a video recording, another that experienced 2D images in a VR head-mounted display (HMD), and a third with full VR simulations.
And it worked! The study found that children who used the fully immersive device reported significantly less fear when faced with heights than those who just watched recordings. Children using 2D media also showed some improvement, but not as much as those in the real VR conditions.
It’s worth noting that these results weren’t all instant either – outside of the study, all groups reported increased fear after a week. But the VR group reported that their fear had dropped significantly, with some even saying they could use climbing gear now – which is pretty incredible, considering they’d said earlier that this would be impossible for them.
This isn’t the only example of VR doing fantastic things for those on who it’s used: several studies have found that virtual reality can reduce pain experienced by burn victims. It has also been proven to help those with PTSD, and even doctors say it might make surgery easier (with patients reporting less pain as well).
So what’s going on here? What makes virtual reality such a promising tool for addressing psychological issues these? Well… we’re not really sure. We know that the virtual world is created by our brains, but we don’t yet completely understand how it all works – which means we probably won’t for a while yet.
Augmented Reality In Healthcare
What exactly is augmented reality? It’s a little different from virtual reality, as you can see (and don’t need to wear a headset). Think about the ‘Pokemon Go’ app.
By holding down their phones and swiping around the screen, players are transported into a world where there are pokemon everywhere around them.
This is augmented reality explained – it basically takes information from your surroundings and lays a computer-generated image over the top of it.
But who cares? Well, hospitals do. To give you an idea of why doctors find it useful: imagine being able to project the x-ray onto the patient, so they can see what you’re seeing.
Or maybe projecting your CT scan onto a wall for everyone to take a closer look at without having to crowd around the monitor. Augmented reality helps by adding a layer of information onto an image.
In the video game app, pokemon enemies have different kinds of health – some are hit harder by certain attacks. In medicine, it’s quite similar.
Whether you’re trying to help someone who has fallen and has a head injury or chest pain, augmented reality can quickly show you what kind of injuries they’ve sustained and how bad they are.
It can also project vital signs like pulse rate and blood pressure on the patient to make finding out easier for doctors and nurses.
Augmented reality apps aren’t just limited to health care though – there is such as thing as augmented reality surgery (can you imagine?) which uses virtual 3D models made from scans whilst surgeons try to operate with their own virtual hands.
One example of this in action is the da Vinci surgery robot, which uses augmented reality to help surgeons carry out precise operations with minimal incisions.
Then there are virtual tools that can be used instead of real ones which are much less likely to cause any unnecessary harm.
For instance, augmented reality ultrasound allows doctors to see images from inside a body without having to cut through skin or bone so patients heal faster and have fewer scars.
Other examples include training people how to use certain medical equipment, helping them manage their medications better, 3D printed casts for broken limbs, etc., etc.
The future’s looking bright when it comes to everything AR.
Healthcare Trackers and Sensors
Some of the biggest breakthroughs in healthcare have been the trackers and sensors that help monitor a person’s well-being.
For instance, the Apple Watch has been used to measure vital signs and send the results directly to a doctor for review.
Earlier this year, there were 2 studies conducted where people suffering from severe depression were able to better regulate their moods thanks to a wearable device made by Philips called “mybreath.” Both examples show how technology can be used as a beneficial tool.
Patients going through chemotherapy often have trouble eating because chemo causes nausea and vomiting which is why doctors have been exploring ways of using 3D printed tastes and textures to trick patients into thinking they’re eating real food when it’s actually something like mashed potatoes.
There’s also an app called Feedie that helps those with eating disorders track their meals if they are unable to keep food down for a long period of time.
There is also software that can be used on laptops or tablet computers that lets doctors read CT scans and then send the results directly to patients’ phones for easy access.
Another app called Smart Scheduler lets patients with pain management issues set up alerts notifying them when it’s time to take their medication, which helps reduce missed doses while making sure patient takes medication on time every day so they don’t have any interruptions in treatment.
Since many people carry smartphones around these days doctors have been able to use some of the technology already available on them such as voice assistants like Siri, Google Voice Cortana, Bixby, etc…
When patients need something they can use their voice to call for help and it is routed directly to whoever needs to come to help them, they also have access to a digital care plan that lets them review what medications they are on, allergies, and more.
The healthcare industry is changing. Healthcare professionals have been able to use technology in a way that helps them be more efficient and spend less time on paperwork, freeing up their valuable time for the patients they serve.
Technology has also helped providers improve care by giving them access to better information about patient health outcomes and treatments, which can help reduce errors or increase the efficiency of treatment plans.
As we continue to learn and grow, the healthcare industry will be forced to change with the times. We hope you’ve found this article helpful in understanding how technology has changed our lives for better or worse.
We look forward to the future of healthcare, it’s important to remember how much progress has already taken place because of innovation. We should stay optimistic about what new advancements are yet to come!
The future of technology in the medical field is brighter than ever. Scientists and engineers working together to ensure that those who come after us will be able to take advantage of a better and more practical healthcare system that should continue to improve in years to come.