The Future of Healthcare
New technologies are changing every aspect of the way people live, including the healthcare they receive. Take a closer look at some of the developments that are shaping the future of healthcare.
Electronic Records Improve Administration and Diagnostics
Image via Flickr by GotCredit
Integrated software platforms are eliminating the need for paper records in healthcare firms. These programs incorporate claims processing, care management, and enrollment data into systems that are sharable between healthcare providers and insurance firms. These programs allow industry professionals to more efficiently log and retrieve records, and they help healthcare administrators cut costs. For these reasons, courses dealing with the adoption of healthcare technologies have become a key part of the Executive Master of Healthcare Administration curriculum.
It’s not just administrators who are interested in the potential of electronics records, however. Together, such records create a massive, easily searchable library of medical data. By making past cases more accessible, electronic records are helping healthcare professionals diagnose cases more quickly.
Big Data Aids Diagnosis
Combing through electronic records will soon seem primitive if the potential of big data programs is realized. In the future, we could see the same technology that recognizes faces in Facebook applied to spotting cancer in an X-ray. Enlitic, the startup behind this technology, has partnered with hospitals and medical imaging companies who provide X-rays, lab results, and other analyzable information. Enlitic’s software assesses the information and finds patterns that can help doctors make faster and more accurate diagnoses. Enlitic is one of many tech firms using big data to create revolutionary diagnostic tools.
Wearable Tech Provides Patient Information for Remote Monitoring and Illness Prevention
Health-conscious individuals around the world are using Fitbits, Apple Watches, and other wearable technology to track their activity levels, sleep patterns, blood pressure, and other variables. This trend has allowed doctors to get a more complete picture of their patients’ habits outside the consulting room. But we haven’t yet seen the potential of wearables in the healthcare field. Google X Lab is already developing a pair of contact lenses which would track glucose levels in the wearer’s tears. More inventions like these are sure to follow.
Wearables are already giving users greater insight into their health and helping them manage their wellness. But in the future, wearables may allow doctors to monitor their patients at all times. With information about their patients at their fingertips, doctors would find it easier to conduct virtual consultations. This would be a real advantage for the 25 percent of the population that lives in rural America, where just 10 percent of the nation’s physicians practice. As a result, rural residents often need to travel a significant distance and face lengthy wait times to see a doctor.
Wearables should also aid a greater emphasis on preventative medicine. Currently, most Americans avoid the doctor’s office unless they’re feeling sick. However, the sensors in wearables can detect the symptoms of a medical condition, such as a slight change in temperature, long before the patient feels ill. Wearables will allow users to recognize those warning signs, consult a doctor, and receive treatment before an illness takes hold.
These exciting new developments and others are helping to shape the future of the healthcare sector.