From drones to data, technology is the new weapon in the global healthcare industry. Technology is helping us move towards universal healthcare, which means providing the care people need without imposing a financial burden. But right now only half the world’s population has access to essential health services. And of those who do, about 100 million are being pushed into poverty just to pay for them. Here are four innovations that could make a big impact in the healthcare industry.

Using Drones to Deliver Medical Supplies

Especially in remote places which are hard to get to, delivering medical supplies where they are needed quickly can be very difficult. Drones are a great way to speed up supply lines as they can be flown remotely directly to hospitals or patients. There are medical companies that have started using drones to deliver supplies to thousands of clinics in Ghana. The drone delivery system provides emergency care for up to 12 million Ghanaians. Along with its sister project in Rwanda, the network is expected to save tens of thousands of lives over the next few years alone.

Using Mobile Phones for Medical Services

Apps and text messaging services are now helping millions of people with a range of medical services. The mobile apps make users more aware of risks from non-communicable diseases which account for 71 percent of global deaths. The folks at Technologyrivers.com who helped to develop and enhance the illness tracking app Sicknote told us that there are a huge number of possibilities for using mobile technology in healthcare. One program targeting smokers has more than two million users in India alone. Seventy-five percent of participants said the service was helpful, and in one survey, 19 percent said they hadn’t smoked for at least 30 days.

Self-Testing Kits

In previous years, the spread of HIV was rampant as there were just not enough testing kits at clinics, and especially in some of the hardest-hit countries in the world, HIV would often go undiagnosed. Modern advancements in testing technology however, mean that there are now many countries where HIV self-testing kits are available. They are part of a global initiative to reach the 8.1m people who are living with HIV but are unaware they have the infection. A million self-tests were carried out in 2017, and it’s hoped that that figure will grow to well over 16m by the end of 2020, making the goal of ending Aids by 2030 a real possibility.

Data Management to Improve Speed of Diagnosis and Analysis

Countries all over the world are looking to totally digitize their healthcare systems. If every clinic was connected and health records could be securely accessed by health providers and patients

anywhere in the country. This would mean that 99% of prescriptions could be issued digitally, giving GPs more time to see their patients. It would also allow ambulance crews almost instant access to patient histories, saving vital time in an emergency.

Technology is enabling us to make huge strides in providing healthcare coverage to more people than ever. The innovations in this article, and others like them, have the potential to revolutionize the world’s healthcare systems. As technology gets increasingly advanced, the possibility of using it to treat people and save lives is getting more and more exciting.

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