Technology is improving both access to medical care and treatment of illnesses especially family medicine. Today, digital innovations allow patients to monitor their vital signs, access their medical information, and send information to the medical provider. People can use technology to take tests in the privacy of their home, keep track of their symptoms, and provide their physicians immediate updates on a variety of conditions. Three of the best examples of how technology has improved healthcare today are electronic medical records, health information technology, and some modern surgical procedures.
The Electronic Health Record (EHR)
Only 16 percent of hospitals in the United States were using Electronic Health Records in 2009. By 2015, more than 90 percent of hospitals which were eligible for the meaningful incentives program from CMS were incorporating EHR systems. The goal of the Affordable Care Act is to develop a comprehensive system of electronic medical and health records which can be accessed nationwide. This would hopefully help increase cooperation and sharing of health information among providers. EHR also provides data essential to helping hospitals and medical providers improve how they deliver care with a goal of providing high-quality care which is standardized across institutions and organizations.
Mobile Health is another technology innovation helping to improve the way healthcare is delivered. Wireless technology provides healthcare providers the ability to monitor patient’s vitals and symptoms without having to see the patient in person. Tablets and smartphones expedite the medical provider’s ability to access and send health information.
Mobile health also provides patients a way to become active participants in their own healthcare. Wireless technology allows patients to send in biometric data from a variety of devices, including their bathroom scale, their insulin pump, or even an EKG.
Telemedicine and Telehealth
For those individuals living in extremely rural areas, telemedicine provides a means to receive medical care in even the most remote locations. People living in these locations may not have access to adequate medical care. Implementing telemedicine or telehealth services resulted in significantly lower mortality rates while improving overall health and wellness.
Telehealth and telemedicine also produce cost savings. Organizations which have implemented a video consultation program where a patient can access a physician for advice or even a full assessment have proven very popular with patients and doctors alike, as well as producing dramatic savings in health care costs.
There is not doubt that technology has helped drastically improve the delivery of health care services. As technology improves, there will be more and more improvements in how we deliver healthcare in our country.