New technology is improving healthcare delivery for patients, providers, and even medical and nursing students. At the same time, patients are using apps, wearables, and other tools to become more actively involved in their care.
Healthcare technology is valuable because it allows for problems to be solved in new ways. For example, patients can monitor their health status and meet with providers from the comfort of their own homes; however, new technology also creates questions about accuracy and privacy. Healthcare education programs have adapted their curriculum to include new technologies and the issues they raise. Many schools, such as the Phillips School of Nursing at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, offer courses on nursing informatics and plan to offer additional tech-related programs.
Health advisors often partner with their clients to maximize the benefits of new technology and improve their client’s care. At Better Health Advisors, the team stays abreast of the latest cutting-edge health technology to help our clients in new ways.
Here are some insights into recent advances in health technology:
- Acceleration of Telehealth: Due to COVID-19, telehealth has expanded rapidly, with 23% of adults using telehealth in the pandemic, compared to 2.4% in 2018. By offering patients virtual services, health systems empower patients and make care more accessible. In its simplest form, patients use telehealth to connect with their providers from home. An example of more complex use of telehealth is hospitals that leverage tele-ICUs to remotely monitor COVID-19 patients.
- Patient Advocacy Tools: Often, miscommunication or confusion can occur between patients and providers. With the innovative tool Abridge, patients can record conversations with their doctors, making it possible for their family and medical care team to revisit the conversation. This allows for deeper understanding of a patient’s health and empowers patients to more effectively navigate their care.
- Virtual & Augmented Reality (VR & AR): An innovator in the therapeutics space, n*gram health offers custom, immersive experiences for seniors. For example, seniors and their caregivers can leverage web-based virtual reality and mobile device-based augmented reality to evoke positive emotions, stories, and memories.
- Sober Monitoring: For people in recovery, sober monitoring technology continues to improve. Remote alcohol monitoring is possible with Soberlink devices that combine a breathalyzer with wireless connectivity. Another tool is BACTrack View, an app that empowers users to change their behavior and hold themselves accountable to others, such as an employer, healthcare provider, or family member.
- Healthcare Trackers & Wearables: Patients can easily monitor their health and seek earlier medical interventions using their cellphones, mobile apps, and other wireless technologies. Wearables, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, increase patient awareness of their vitals and symptoms, which can also be communicated to providers. Also, if you have a loved one who has begun to wander as a result of a disease, GPS technology, such as GPS SmartSole for Alzheimer’s patients, can provide 24/7 access to that person’s location.
- Robotic Surgery: Minimally invasive surgery is made possible by surgeons working alongside robots to perform complex procedures with precision. For example, a surgeon can use a computer with high-definition, magnified images of the surgical site to control robotic arms in making precise incisions.
- Rise in Artificial Intelligence (AI): Powerful machines that predict, understand, learn, and act are bringing AI into the healthcare system. AI technology has many applications to improve patient care, including reducing medical errors, increasing accuracy of diagnoses, assessing symptoms, analyzing scans, and contributing to drug development.
- Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Integration: An EMR is a digital healthcare data system that stores key patient information including medical history, lab results, allergies, and demographics. EMR integration is the process of sharing patient information in a seamless manner from one EMR to another.
- Genome Technology: Genomics is the study of genes, including how the genes interact with each other and how they interact with the surrounding environment. Genomics can be used to understand the causes of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. For example, the NIH invests heavily in its Genome Technology Program to improve genomic technologies that allow researchers to better understand human health and disease.
As health technology advances, both in the healthcare system and at the consumer level, the Better Health Advisors team will be monitoring new developments. BHA looks forward to continuing to find innovative solutions for complex healthcare problems so that our clients receive the best possible care.
*Please note: Better Health Advisors is an independent health advisory firm. BHA is not affiliated with or sponsored by any companies mentioned in this blog.