The exponential growth we’ve seen in technology has truly changed the way top industries work, and the healthcare industry is no different. Technological advancements in the health and social care industries have led to the coined term “Smart Healthcare.” As life expectancy continues to increase and the cost of healthcare rises globally, smart healthcare is helping to bridge these gaps and improve patient outcomes. Here’s how it’s being implemented.
Wearable Healthcare Devices
Patient Monitoring Devices (PMDs) are wearable devices that can provide remote, real-time monitoring of patients and can improve their quality of life. Some examples of wearable medical devices used by medical professionals include KardiaMobile and KardiaBand which detects atrial fibrillation from only your fingertips, Aira which can guide blind individuals via a tiny camera on a pair glasses, Cyrcadia Health’s iTBra which can alert of the possibility of breast cancer, and Abbott Diabetes Care which is a glucose monitoring system for individuals who suffer from diabetes that eliminates the need for the finger prick system.
According to Markets and Markets, the medical wearable device global market will reach $12.1 billion by 2021, with the United States representing the largest market worldwide. Despite this, there are still a few factors restraining the growth of the market such as privacy concerns over possible hacking of personal medical data.
Improving Patient Engagement
In addition to improving patient monitoring, smart healthcare seeks news ways of improving patient engagement with their medical professionals and with their own health in general. Hospitals have learned from other industries who are seeking to create a customer-centered relationship and are using new digital solutions such as customer apps, social media, and patient portals to provide more personalized care and to increase patient satisfaction. Through these digital solutions, patients can book appointments, fill out forms, and even chat one on one with a medical professional.
Patient use of medical wearable technologies also leads to an increase in engagement as individuals are managing and monitoring their own personal health. Many portable devices have goal setting capabilities which keep the user engaged and persistent in improving their overall health, whether it be to lower their blood pressure or to achieve their weight goal.
Harnessing Big Data
Nowadays, most individual patient records have been digitized removing the need for paper files and are referred to as electronic health records (EHRs). The adoption of EHR has encouraged the sharing of patient information among clinicians to lower costs, speed diagnosis, and improve patient outcomes. Professionals are then able to analyze these mass records to predict health outcomes based on trends, to track a treatment’s effectiveness, and to even research which factors could be leading to disease and cancer diagnosis.
It seems certain that we’ve only just seen the very start of how smart healthcare is revolutionizing the industry. The implementation of wearable devices and electronic health records among many other developments are truly transforming the way we collect, manage, and assess medical data.