InnovationsTechnology

Health Tech A New Guide : How Tech Informs Your Health Better

An older adult falls in the bathroom and uses her pendant to call for help. Native Americans on remote reservations are using Telehealth to talk to a health care provider hundreds of miles away. A robot is helping a surgeon perform open-heart surgery. What do all of these scenarios have in common? They’re all examples of how health tech solutions change the healthcare landscape by allowing older adults to live in their homes instead of a nursing facility. It gives underserved populations access to quality care that they wouldn’t have otherwise, and it may also save your life or the life of a loved one.

What Is Health Tech and Why Does It Matter?

It’s hard to define health tech because it covers so many things. It can be the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) that gives providers real-time information, but it’s also the wristwatch that monitors physical activity, heart rate, and sleep cycles.

Whether we realize it or not, health technology impacts us daily. Big data can gather and store data on a global viral outbreak and use it to model scenarios based on preventative measures. We can enable our smartphones to allow public health authorities to notify us if we may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Can Technology Help to Reduce Healthcare Costs?

Health technology can help reduce healthcare costs in a variety of ways. New advancements in technology allow earlier diagnosis for diseases, allowing for more conservative treatment instead of costly surgeries. And if a doctor must perform surgery, then robotics can help make the procedure safer, more comfortable, and less invasive.

Technology also allows for more efficient workflow and reduction in the cost of office supplies. A digitized billing system provides information to be carried across various platforms between the medical record, accounts receivable, and accounts payable. By keeping paper documentation to a minimum, a healthcare provider can reduce printing, filing errors, and document storage costs.

How Fast Is Health Tech Growing?

Technology in healthcare is advancing at an incredible speed. Expected to be a $281 billion industry by 2021, it continues to grow across various platforms, along with job opportunities. Additionally, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act promotes the EMR and technology among health care providers.

The Benefits of Technology in Healthcare 

Technology has been a critical factor in improving health care. Here are just some of the ways that the healthcare industry benefits from technology.
  • Fewer Errors
Every time information is entered into a medical record increases the likelihood of transcribing errors. Entering information one time and allowing it to populate other fields across the EMR means fewer opportunities for incorrect data entry.
  • Safer Medications
By having a patient’s health record in electronic form, it’s easier to discover any medication allergies or if the medication being prescribed works against another medication that the patient is currently taking.
  • Disease Management
Advancements in disease management allow patients to monitor their condition and take preventative steps. For example, a person with diabetes can check their blood glucose levels throughout the day and decide diet and exercise to keep those levels within normal limits.
  • Mental Health Technology
Technology has made it easier for people to have access to mental health resources. There is still a stigma attached to those who suffer from mental health problems. Smartphones have apps for people struggling with addiction and depression. Telehealth offers an opportunity for people to connect with a mental health professional in the privacy of their homes.
  • Reduction of Hospital Admissions
In nursing homes, Telehealth’s use can reduce the need for hospital re-admissions by allowing physicians to assess patients in-place. Mobile X-ray companies directly bring their imaging equipment to the patient’s bedside, thus preventing further injuries caused by transporting frail bodies to a hospital’s imaging department.
Health Tech

What Are the Health Tech Industry Challenges?

Like any other industry, the health tech industry has its growing pains. Its fast advancement requires attention to a myriad of details. Here are just a few:
  • Privacy
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and HITECH address the privacy of the electronic medical record. Ensuring a patients’ medical information’s confidentiality and integrity continues to be a challenge for health care professionals. Furthermore, the more data that is shared increases the likelihood of breaches.
  • Cost
While the adoption of technology in healthcare can increase efficiency and provide more affordable healthcare, the initial investment can be costly. While larger medical centers can absorb the expenditure, many smaller practices may find it difficult and be unable to keep up with their larger competitors.
  • Interoperability
Health information technology companies are rapidly developing newer and more innovative programming. However, these various platforms must communicate with each other for the Health Information Exchange (HIE). The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) works to set standards to collaborate health tech solutions, both domestically and internationally.

What is the Future of Health Tech?

Health tech startups will continue to lead the way in innovation. Additionally, in the face of a global pandemic, it is now more essential than ever that healthcare providers use Telehealth to keep patients and staff safe. COVID-19 has forced the adoption of health tech solutions across the spectrum.

Health tech news shows an industry that is continually evolving to meet the needs of a society that is adapting to a new normal that affects all aspects of daily life. Even after the threat of this pandemic has passed, the health tech industry will have discovered more modern and better ways to ensure better and more accessible healthcare.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) uses algorithms and machine learning to help providers with clinical decision making. Robotics help surgeons turn complicated surgeries into minimally invasive procedures by providing better sight and precision. We will continue to see the use of AI for better health outcomes.

The Bottom Line

Health technology is key to meeting the growing needs of public health. It allows the exchange of data across nations to better track diseases. Scientists can use that data to make predictive models and influence public health policy.

Wearable technology helps people track their activity, heart rate, and sleep habits to make better choices throughout the day. Adopting a healthier lifestyle can help prevent future illnesses. People who live in remote areas and those who are homebound can speak with healthcare providers through Telehealth. Those with mental health issues are better able to connect with available resources.

Technology in healthcare can reduce costs, prevent errors, and produce better surgical outcomes. By turning what was once a complicated surgical procedure into a minimally invasive procedure, physicians and patients can expect fewer medical complications.

However, with rapid growth comes growing pains. While health tech companies expand to meet ever-expanding needs, they must protect an individual’s privacy and ensure the confidentiality of electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI) as we continue to see the expansion of health tech. We all have a responsibility to use it wisely for the advancement and not the detriment of a healthy society.

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Phyllis Olson
I am a Blogger, and I am obviously enthusiastic about technology and tech items, additionally technology assets. I have been following tech-trends nearly want to fill you in on the things you are keen on.

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