Over 3.8 billion people use some form of internet technology nowadays, which makes up 40% of the world’s population, according to Orleans Marketing. Think about it – more than 88 billion people will be born only this year, into this data and algorithm-based society. The age of Big Data is definitely upon us, so we must learn how to use it to our advantage. While for some people, making use of the existing technology simply means connecting on social platforms, for others, technology has become a tool to facilitate learning, increase efficiency, or avoid costs previously unbearable.
Much of the administrative healthcare costs in the United States have dropped due to technology improvements – now, administrators can keep online patient records, files, and use other important optimized technologies, which overall cut significant costs. More than that, real-time applications used to monitor patients’ activity have resulted in much more effective treatment, and quicker solutions to urgent problems; but the medical institutions are not the only ones benefitting from this. Patients also find it easier to access healthcare since technology has emerged. We will talk about both sides of the coin today, so – brace yourselves (winter is indeed coming!).
Easily, cost-free available information
Think about it for a second – if you’re suffering from unexplainable symptoms, what do you do first? Do you immediately go to the doctor, or will you google-search your issues first? And if you have been in this position before, how many times has it resulted in the alternative, homemade treatments? Could you say Google saved you serious money, or… no?
The answers to these questions will differ from person to person, but most people will incline to identify with making quick Google-searches. About 66% of the 8 million senior users surveyed in 2004 said they’d rather search healthcare symptoms online before visiting the doctor, according to the Pew Research Center. And imagine, that was in 2004! That’s because, believe it or not, Google decreases our concerns (calms us down), and allows us to become more conscious of what we are experiencing. If we don’t reach to a third party whenever we go through the slightest form of anxiety, we learn how to deal with challenging situations and rely more on our senses than we previously used to. Also, it saves us lots of insurance money, and time spent waiting in the reception room – and all this, due to technology.
Customer support at its best using online tools
It’s incredible how social media can change lives. Doctors are now able to connect with patients on online platforms, offering them the necessary information to help them cope with their issues. Not only can they offer serious advice, but they can also educate patients on what to consume, what to avoid, and how to manage their struggles. Another cool feature is the patients’ ability to leave reviews on these online websites, stating their experiences. This will be very helpful to new patients who are checking out the online system and looking for answers. This tool can help patients narrow down their physician searches and pick the best doctor for them, making healthcare more effective both in the short and long term.
Better technology means better treatments
As our technology involves, our treatments become increasingly effective, while people have increased access to numerous health benefits. Because of improved equipment, medical doctors are now prone to developing more comprehensive healthcare plans; this helps contributes to enhanced treatments and, in a nutshell, a better medical practice.
Think about all the effective treatments scientists have already found to treat illnesses unheard of before – from malaria to dengue fever or various infectious disorders, we are now on the way to the moon! With our technology expanding so quickly, researchers are now seeing more effective therapeutical approaches to problems unsolved (or even unheard of) before. Their research activity speeds up as we speak.
For example, RIKEN and Tokai Rubber Industries have developed a Robot for Interactive Body Assistance (RIBA) to stop nurses from hurting themselves when picking up patients (after an emergency or simply from their beds). With RIBA, nurses’ activity becomes easier, thus improving productivity, while RIBA is known to be the first robot which lifts up humans!
Faster and more effective results
While in the past, it took months for results to come in, with improved technology, that is no longer the case. As soon as labs are done analyzing your sample, they process it through a mechanism that gives out instant results. This, in turn, enhances patients’ safety and meets urgent needs. There are institutions that offer online web portals, meaning patients can check their results from home; not having to return to the hospital can be quite soothing for some individuals. Also, by lessening the time in which results are received, patients are becoming less anxious.
These online medical records will not only release stress by providing quick access to results, but they can also provide information regarding billing, appointments, or even past medical treatments. It’s more convenient, easier to use, and much cheaper for absolutely everyone!
Predicting outbreaks is now easier
When patients start to feel that something is wrong, most of the times they will not immediately visit the doctor, as I mentioned before. However, there is a dark side to this – some will never do it, even if their symptoms worsen – either because of fear or because of financial difficulties. This unwillingness can easily turn into a breakdown or an outburst, depending on the seriousness of the symptoms. To avoid that, we now have the technology! All patients have to do is surf the online web, find the first available on-call physician and explain their symptoms.
The huge amounts of benefits technology has brought with it had impacted American healthcare in unimagined ways. Better outcomes, medical plans, and even technologies have therefore emerged. We are at a point in our lives where upgrades will continue to come into view, thus helping more patients receive effective treatments and decreasing anxiety among sufferers.