The world as we know it has jumped onto the ever-changing ride of technology, holding fast to improved ways of living, doing, and carrying out business.
The healthcare system is on that same fast-paced train, holding tight and enjoying the ride that new technology is responsible for.
Throughout this article, we will focus on three main ways technology is reshaping the healthcare industry, including patient care, record keeping, and research and development. We will also discuss one of the pinnacle benefits to innovation — the creation of new jobs:
The infamous manilla-folder chart is no longer dramatically flourished when a doctor or nurse enters a patient’s room in their hospital or check-up rooms. Instead, they sit in their chairs and roll themselves over to the computer, checking information and entering new information. Or, they stand by your bedside, tablet or smartphone in hand.
In 2014, the United States Department of Agriculture reported that 46 million people, or almost 15 percent of the U.S. population, lived in “Rural America.”
Telemedicine, a newer technological advance in long-distance medicine, allows for these rural populations — some of them living hours from the nearest hospital — the opportunity to receive one-on-one care from their doctor via teleconference technology. Think of it like having a routine evaluation via Skype.
Kiosks just aren’t for movie rentals anymore. Now, upon entering a hospital, you can register at one, e-sign all documents and even enter a credit card for co-pays. This speeds up the initial registration process, especially if the hospital has more than one kiosk. This means less waiting time and more one-on-one time with your doctor.
Wearable tech, like a FitBit or Apple Watch, can now monitor your heart rate, sleep schedule, miles walked, calories burned and stairs taken. Other wearable medical devices can monitor and assess cardiac development, blood pressure, respiratory action, glucose levels for diabetics, body temperature, and even neurological activity.
Because all of these tech devices are wearable, they monitor the wearer 24 hours a day and record and store all data. Pretty amazing.
There are many well-known wearable tech companies, such as FitBit, Apple, Garmin, Samsung, TomTom, Moto360, Pebble … just to name a few.
These companies are offering a variety of new jobs including: research and development, hardware engineering, customer support, brand design and marketing, web and mobile engineering, firmware engineers, software engineers, and more.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is one of many institutions that have been a proactive voice for the integration of Health Information Technology (IT) into the healthcare’s primary system. This Health IT, along with Electronic Health Records (EHR), contain millions, even billions, of records with information on every patient that has ever stepped through a hospital, clinic or urgent care’s door. With the systems in place, departments that were once separated (i.e., pharmacy and lab) are now merged into one. Records are now able to include everything, from the date of the visit to what prescription medication patients are taking, their vitals, notes taken and recorded by the nurse or doctor, procedures done, lab results, etc.
Beyond opening up even more jobs for IT professionals, medical and billing coders are now in high demand. Billing and coding classes online have turned out experienced coders, who are now able to take diagnoses and other information given by the doctor and enter them into the improved system as a numerical value. This value now allows healthcare establishments to handle data more efficiently and with the utmost care.
Research and Development
With innovations in technology, health research and development has also evolved. As discussed earlier, IT professionals, coders, engineers, and other brains, have cleared a path of discovery that was once quite foggy. Software has been developed that enables global organizations, such as the World Health Organization to organize, classify, specify, diagnose, retrieve and track data like never before. And, with more health data available than ever before, research and development teams have almost unlimited access to statistical proof that could very well cure a well-known disease in the near future.
Technology has changed the healthcare system forever. Databases, records, kiosks, system management, monitors, machines … new advancements in technology are occurring at an unstoppable speed. The healthcare industry is no longer just for doctors, nurses and pharmacists, but IT professionals, coders, engineers, software developers and much more are now needed on the frontlines to continue this upward mobility; giving patients the best possible care available.