Modern Medicine: How Modern Technology is Helping Cut the Costs of Healthcare
While some associate new medical technology with higher costs, innovation actually drops the cost of health care while providing better patient care. While you may think of lasers used in operations or improvements to EKGs, the greatest advances in medicine belong to data, apps, and the Internet of Things. You may think of IoT as the app that lets you turn on your porch light using a smartphone app, but it’s also apps and sensors saving lives by transmitting constant patient data.
Electronic Health Records
In less than a decade, medical records moved from paper records in various formats by medical area to a cohesive electronic record. In 2009, 13 percent of US hospitals used EHR; by 2013, 80 percent implemented it. With a few clicks, a patient’s entire medical history can move across country, from their hometown general practitioner to where they’re vacationing or on a business trip. This quick process saves trees, cuts costs and improves patient care, enabling medical personnel to quickly make informed treatment decisions.
The advent of 4G and popularity of smartphones enable physicians to better monitor patient progress while involving the patients in their own treatment. Patients transmit data such as weight and blood pressure, even newly developed behaviors of autistic patients, enabling medical personnel to quickly address progress.
Remote Monitoring Tools
More advanced than smartphone apps, remote monitoring tools include pacemakers that automatically transmit heart data and bandages with smart sensors that detect skin pH levels, giving medical personnel a warning if an outpatient’s cut begins developing an infection.
If these advances interest you, consider becoming a nurse practitioner or doctor who specializes in health informatics, an interdisciplinary field combining the design, development, implementation and further innovation of IT-based healthcare services. The interdisciplinary nature of the field provides specialization opportunities in areas such as data analysis, application development and device development. It embodies crunching numbers and the Internet of Things.
You can best enter the field with a master’s degree – a MS health informatics. Some schools require a health care-related or information technology Bachelor’s degree for program admission. Core courses center on database design and modeling, project management, and existing health care systems. Most programs require a practicum or internship.
In medicine, technology breakthroughs not only lower costs, they improve care. Medical professionals with information technology and computer savvy lead the way with innovations that connect patients and medical practitioners through the IoT.
Author: Lizzie Weakley