Is Technology Changing the Landscape of Healthcare?
It has long been known that the healthcare industry was suffering, and suffering at epidemic proportions, not only in this country but around the world as well. The high costs associated with care alongside reduced budgets for research and a severe shortage of doctors and nurses all contributed to the crisis.
That is not to say that the world of healthcare is not still in crisis, but technology is having a huge impact on the landscape of healthcare and some areas are seeing major improvements due to innovations in health informatics as it relates to the communication between a patient and his or her provider.
Diagnostics at the Forefront of Technological Advances
One of the major areas where huge advances have been evidenced is in the area of diagnostics. Never before has there been so many ways in which technology can detect early signs of cancer, heart disease and even such things as the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. From a molecular level right up through whole body imagery, advances in technology have saved literally millions of lives in recent years. But that is on the hospital/institution end of technological advances. A whole new field is developing that shows even greater promise and that is in a field known as Consumer Health Informatics, CHI.
How CHI Is Impacting Healthcare
In order to understand how Consumer Health Informatics is having such a profound impact on the landscape of healthcare, you should first understand the science behind wearables. These are devices worn on the body that have the capacity to measure vital signs and daily lifestyle habits in order to convey data collected to the patient’s healthcare provider in real time.
There is no longer a need to wait until the next office visit to tell your doctor your blood pressure has been dangerously high over the past interval of time because the moment abnormal ranges are measured the device triggers communication that is immediately sent via a mobile device to the patient’s provider. At that time immediate action can be taken whether it signifies a trip to ER or to the doctor’s office for immediate analysis.
Major Universities Are Addressing Advanced Technology
There are a number of major universities around the nation like the University of Illinois at Chicago, where health informatics is being taught on a very precise graduate level. Students can study health care informatics online or in a classroom and walk away with a post graduate certificate in the field or a well-respected masters in health care informatics.
These professionals work on both ends of the spectrum, from devising technology to address patient/provider communications through software applications, hardware devices and analytics to provide better global outcomes in key areas of medicine.
Technology is certainly changing the landscape of healthcare but in ways we are only beginning to realize. Yes, hospitals and laboratories have the benefit of advanced technology but now some of the very same technology can be worn at home by a patient who can take an active role in his or her own treatment simply by wearing a device that will communicate any urgent metrics having been tracked to that patient’s doctor.
As far as improving outcomes on a larger scale than ever before possible, CHI is one solution brought to us by advanced technology – one that is changing the landscape for the better and forever going forward.