A Look at the 7 Best Technologies for Improving Patient Care

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Improvements in patient care have always been a main focus within the medical community, but never more so than in recent years as technology has begun focusing on advancing those improvements. In fact, it’s interesting to follow technology as it addresses many of the main concerns within the medical community. While there are many technologies that have improved patient care, these seven promise great improvements in the very near future.

1. Education and Training

If there is one aspect of technology that promises better patient care, it would be in giving healthcare professionals access to remote training and education. For example, Baylor University’s FNP DNP online program gives nurses the ability to advance their career from being a Registered Nurse to a Family Nurse Practitioner while continuing to work full time. With such a shortage of physicians, FNPs can take on patient loads, giving doctors more time with the patients they retain – a definite improvement in inpatient care.

2. Telehealth

Then there’s telehealth technology that enables patients to be seen from home much quicker than waiting for an appointment in office. In fact, telehealth has literally exploded due to the pandemic for a multitude of reasons. Some of the most at-risk patients were better served not leaving the home with the potential to become infected. Then, in an effort to distance patients, doctors were scheduling fewer patients each day so that waiting rooms weren’t crowded shoulder to shoulder. Now, patients are finding that they actually prefer video appointments because it negates travel time and is better for everyone all around.

3. Wearables

In terms of diagnostics and monitoring patient health, wearables have offered amazing benefits. Even smartwatches like those from Apple and Samsung are able to chart a patient’s vitals and record them, which can then be forwarded to the patient’s provider. Some wearables are able to continually monitor heart patients while others are simply geared toward healthy lifestyles and charting exercise.

4. Electronic Medical Records

You might think that EMRs are most beneficial to doctors for the fact that there is a reduction in all those paper patient files. Not only are Electronic Medical Records faster to access, but they can also be shared among specialists and other concerned medical professionals. This leads to faster assessments which in turn equate to improved outcomes.

Also, there are EMR and EHR platforms which can be accessed by patients as well. Today’s consumer wants to be informed and by accessing their records they can do a little research as well on healthier lifestyles in relation to conditions they are diagnosed with.

Some EMR and EHR platforms have a messaging feature in which providers can communicate such things as reminders of upcoming appointments. Along with telehealth, EHRs are among the top healthcare technologies being utilized by today’s patients.

5. Point of Care Technology

Many patients remark about that person sitting in the exam room typing away while the doctor talks to them and gives them a quick assessment. Those individuals doing the typing are medical scribes and the computer they are entering data into is an example of Point of Care (PoC) technology. This gives the doctor more time to spend with patients because they don’t need to take time after the exam making notes to the file. The scribe does that quietly in the background. There may be times that the physician wants to make a note unheard by the patient, but even that is quicker than documenting the entire appointment.

6. Smartphone Apps

There are many smartphone apps used by today’s medical professionals, but typically these are used for secure communications between providers and their teams. Sometimes nurses in hospitals will communicate with a patient’s team and other times hospitals can quickly send a code over a smartphone app without alerting the entire floor or hospital.

Smartphone apps can enable doctors or nurses to access an online PDR (Physician’s Desk Reference) when prescribing or administering medications. Then there are times when a provider needs to reference various symptoms or procedures while working with a patient. This provides rapid information without the necessity of leaving the patient room, accessing a computer, and later returning with the results.

7. AI and Machine Learning

Believe it or not, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are becoming an integral part of healthcare. Big Data and data analytics play an important role in patient care because statistics can be collected and analyzed in mere moments, giving a physician the statistics on treatments and medications that performed best.

Bear in mind that it is virtually impossible to keep facts and figures in mind for all the diseases and conditions doctors are faced with on a daily basis. Sadly, sometimes it’s a best guess prescription for treatment when everything a doctor needs to know is at their disposal online. Instead of saying they would ‘look into it’ and prescribe treatment at the next appointment, AI can offer solutions that worked best for patients with the same symptoms, broken down by demographics as well.

Technology in Healthcare Is a Two-Way Street

So, as you can see by all the above, the best technologies for improving patient outcomes are a two-way street. Not only are they beneficial within the medical community but patients can also take an active role in improving their own outcomes. From monitoring their own health with wearables to accessing their own records online, patients can better understand what they can do to alleviate many of the issues they are currently facing.

Then there are telehealth appointments that benefit both the provider and the patient. The provider is able to ‘see’ many more patients within the course of a day while the patient can meet with their doctor from the comfort of their own home. Telehealth has become a win-win solution for both the doctor and the patients suffering from the global shortage of providers that doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon.

These and so many more advances in technology might be just what the doctor ordered to cure what ails the healthcare system.


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