Healthcare is one of the most swiftly progressing sectors in today’s world, with major leaps being made on a near-weekly basis in the fields of drug development and diagnostic methods, and in the study of certain conditions.
This progress is also very apparent at the point of delivery, where medication and treatments are provided to healthcare service users. So, what are some of the ways that medicine is moving forward?
In this article, we explore just a few areas of advancement within healthcare.
Advanced technological devices
The development of exciting new devices and technologies continues to vastly improve the quality of care that can be provided by healthcare professionals.
With 3D printing, the creation of prosthetics and implants can be achieved with astonishing accuracy in a manner that tailors the results perfectly to the patient.
It is even possible to print specially designed surgical tools and equipment for every procedure without a hugely detrimental effect on the cost of care.
Security and remote patient identification have also become far easier through the use of biometric technology. From fingerprints to facial scanning, it’s now easier than ever to ensure that the right patient is receiving the right treatment, and that there is no possibility of mistakes or fraud.
One of the main causes of pressure on our healthcare systems – and one of the reasons for increases in the cost of care – is the swiftly growing demand for services.
In the past, in order for medical examinations, preliminary diagnostic checks or even triage to take place, a patient would need to present in person to the relevant hospital, office or institution.
Now, thanks to remote technologies, much of the time and cost involved can be cut. Doctors, nurses and other specialists can carry out consultations and basic checks via video conferencing platforms, without the need for the patient or the healthcare professional to travel.
Not only is this highly convenient and often more affordable, but it’s also safer. A person with a potentially infectious condition will not be required to travel via public transport or to interact on a face-to-face basis with medical specialists until the situation is determined to be safe.
Remote technologies are also beneficial in the world of medical training. There is now greater access than ever to flexible online university courses and vocational training platforms.
This helps individuals with strict work and family responsibilities to complete their medical education without the need for them to be present on-campus.
Students can even be based in a different state from the one in which they are training. For example, a resident of Texas would be easily able to study at an online nursing school in Indiana.
This provides a far larger pool of talent with access to training, allowing more strong candidates than ever to access a career in the medical industry. This means that the quality of care at the point of delivery – and, indeed, throughout the entire system – can be significantly improved.
AI and automation
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more and more prevalent across almost every sector globally.
In medicine, not only is it included in the swiftly growing arsenal of remote treatment methods, but it also enables specialists to diagnose conditions more quickly and effectively – by collecting and processing data relating to common symptoms as well as the demographics, lifestyles and geographical locations of patients.
The accurate transcription of medical documentation is also possible through AI – as is greater flexibility in doctor-patient communication.
For example, AI can reduce unnecessary in-person medical consultations or examinations through the use of automated ‘chatbots’ – computer programs that collect data and then use it to answer common questions and queries as effectively as possible.
This method can provide valuable support to patients, helping them to take ownership of their situation and signposting various treatment options and facilities. This reduces the need for doctors and nurses to act as ‘middlemen’ within the process and lifts some of the pressure on their services.
These are just a few of the ways that the world of healthcare delivery is moving forward. With easier access, greater flexibility and the improvement of skills and affordability across the field, the future of medicine is looking more promising than ever.
Whether you’re exploring this subject from the perspective of a patient or you’re thinking of training to be a healthcare specialist, you should be prepared to make use of new technologies, access services remotely or interact with AI within the very near future.