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How will IT and Technology effect the future of Health Care?

Source: Army Medicine, FlickrHealth care as we know it is forever changing because of technology. Never before has there been such significant transformation of health care. New high-tech innovations created for health care are producing a broad range of benefits for both patients and medical professionals.

This year is of great importance for every health care provider.  It’s the year all medical records need to become electronic. This is not a surprise for medical professionals. It’s something that every medical professional has been working on leading up to 2014. It’s a federal mandate and every health care provider needs to demonstrate the use of electronic medical records by 2015 or receive possible penalties for non compliance.  Many health care providers are utilizing electronic medical record solutions from market leader Epic. While this has been a an overwhelming amount of work for most health care providers the long term benefits are limitless. Imagine when all medical research, treatment choices and patient history are electronic. All of this data can be analyzed and calculated in real-time to ultimately make better diagnoses.

One of the great challenges with health care today is providing patient care in rural and remote geographic regions. With current shortages of medical professionals this becomes even more difficult. The reality is patients who live in distant locations need to travel far to receive health care or the medical professional needs to make the long trip to treat patients. With solutions like American Well and HealthPresence patients can connect with medical professional from their home. These solutions are not available everywhere yet because of state laws but where they are available the benefits are substantial. Patients in remote areas can save time travelling long distance for preventable emergency room visits. Likewise, medical professionals can treat more patients using virtual solutions. Of course, remote consultations are not suitable for every medical condition but they are effective for many conditions or follow up consultations from treatment.

Not only are new emerging technologies providing patients with easier access to medical professionals but also health care professionals are using this technology to consult and collaborate with other medical experts and peers. Common in health care are medical consults where one medical professional meets with another medical professional to review a patient case and discuss treatment, procedures and diagnoses. The use of video conferencing and web conferencing solutions is become widespread within health care to provide medical professionals with the ability to meet face-to-face virtually with other health care experts and share patient records and charts. The use of this technology allows medical professionals to consult with anyone in the world. Not only are these technologies being used for consults they are also being used to bring remote medical experts in to operating rooms during procedures.

Growing fast in the consumer market is wearable mobile devices that track and monitor your health. There are wearable mobile devices that record your heart rate, sleep patterns, types of exercise and caloric burn. Not only is this one of the fastest growing mobile device markets it also contains mainstream manufacturers such as Nike and Samsung. Never before has it been so easy to monitor your own heart rate and health activity. The general idea is that by having this real-time personal health information you can set goals and improve your health.

 

Technology is truly transforming healthcare from every end of the medical spectrum. This new health care world with technology at its center empowers the patient. Patients have easier access to medical professionals through technology. The possibilities of medical data analytics after the completion of the federal mandate to electronic medical records may open new possibilities to how diagnoses are handled and accuracy of treatment. Finally, wearable health care technology provides health awareness and motivation to improve health. These technology innovations are reshaping healthcare today, imagine the impact from technology in ten more years!

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