Many would consider it a foregone conclusion that new technologies would bring new benefits to the world of healthcare. But with advances in the tech sector seeming to come more quickly every day, some of these innovations aren’t always getting the spotlight they deserve. What can patients expect from their doctor and hospital visits in the next few years? Here are three ways the tech sector is revolutionizing healthcare.
The virtual doctor
Is it possible to get a thorough checkup from a doctor who is miles away? According to AT&T Virtual Care, the answer is yes! Through a telehealth interface, patients are able to get specialist services from healthcare professionals quickly and conveniently. State-of-the-art web conferencing allows for virtual face-to-face interactions between doctor and patient, and the Emerge.MD’s OnePlaceTM creates a virtual clinic experience that allows doctors to examine and diagnose a variety of symptoms. To facilitate the process, a medical assistant works in the room with the patient to help run the interface and allow the doctor to examine the patient.
Telehealth has many benefits for patients, helping them to get specialized treatment more quickly and to reduce overall healthcare costs. Current telehealth services offered through Virtual Care include urgent and specialty care, chronic disease management, and general wellness and health improvement. The pilot program currently running at St. Joseph Health has proven so successful that 99 percent of patients said they would try it again.
Remote patient monitoring
A constant challenge in healthcare is the need to re-admit patients when proper monitoring of their conditions outside of the hospital could have saved professionals and patients alike the time and cost of re-admission. In fact, chronic conditions that require constant monitoring such as asthma, congestive heart failure, and diabetes make up over 80 percent of inpatient admissions.
While positive health outcomes—and the patient’s life—are always the top priority, care can be improved through better monitoring outside of the hospital. By doing so, not only can patient re-admission be reduced, but healthcare practitioners will have a clearer picture of a patient’s overall health profile.
With this philosophy, AT&T has partnered with Intuitive Health on a remote patient monitoring program. AT&T is powering this program through its wireless network, which patients can link to through a variety of personal health devices. A device-agnostic, cloud-based software platform championed by Intuitive Health then collects the data and sends it securely to the proper caregivers.
Faster access to info through the cloud
Cloud-based healthcare isn’t only limited to monitoring chronic conditions. With the advent of increasingly more advanced methods of digital imaging, especially complex cardiac images, medical practitioners were beginning to encounter the IT challenges of storing so much data. To combat this challenge, practitioners such as Henry Ford Health System and Baptist Health System have turned to AT&T’s cloud-based Imaging and Information Management systems in order to address their storage issues and improve access to information.
In addition to providing an affordable, need-based platform for storing large amounts of medical data, doctors now have increased access to information, which is available through a uniform, device-agnostic platform that works on both computer and various mobile devices. Such innovation reduces the time needed to review or share information with other specialists, which has the potential to dramatically improve diagnostic times and save lives.
As exciting as these innovations are, they surely only mark the beginnings of a digital revolution that will continue to transform the nature of healthcare as we know it. With the mutual goal of improving the patient/doctor experience through the integration of increasingly more advanced tech solutions, we are already beginning to see the difference it makes in improving patient health and saving lives.
Mark is Co-Author of the book: The Social Employee. He is also a digital marketer, social brand strategist, speaker, blogger and educator. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.