As technology continues to develop, more industries are increasingly seeing the benefits of going digital. This has been largely fuelled by the pandemic over the last year, although digital transitions were already in the works before the virus occurred.
Healthcare is one sector where such changes are already coming into effect, and they’re set to revolutionise the industry in the coming years. What does a digital future look like for the people who need medical assistance, though?
Diagnosing Over Webcam
Following the arrival of the COVID-19 virus, healthcare professionals were forced to change the way they saw and treated patients. Many doctors advised people to stay at home and have appointments over the phone, rather than coming to see them in person. Given that 88% of GPs want greater use of remote consultations from now on, this is a change that’s likely to remain.
For those with minor ailments, or who require advice about an ongoing problem, video calls are considered more efficient. They save time and avoid disrupting to a patient’s day, which is why people are starting to warm to the idea. What about those whose issues can’t be dealt with over webcam, though?
Checking For Warning Signs
Not everyone can be treated through telemedicine, but the digitisation of healthcare can still aid patients who require dedicated medical assistance. New technology is already proving to have a positive effect in hospitals, as evidenced by the use of the ‘alert and action’ algorithms in the UK.
Hundreds of lives have already been saved because this technology analyses vital signs and informs staff when conditions begin to worsen. While sepsis may have been the main focus for this digital development, in time, this technology could prove effective for illnesses of all kinds.
Aiding In A Crisis
2020 has shown that infectious diseases can strike at any time and cause a global catastrophe. The impact that COVID-19 has had on the healthcare industry has been severe, not helped by the fact that healthcare workers aren’t immune to the virus. In times like this, the more digitised that services are, the less risk it puts on those in this sector. After all, a computer can’t get infected if a patient coughs or sneezes on them.
Of course, a reliance on technology shouldn’t undermine what healthcare workers can achieve in these situations. While their intervention might put their own health at risk, the dangers are minimal provided they wear personal protective equipment (PPE), such as nitrile gloves. As long as it’s supplied by a reliable seller, is FDA-approved, and safe for both patient and staff to come into contact with, this stuff is highly effective at tackling contamination.
Reaching A Middle Ground
Digitising the healthcare industry is bound to increase efficiency and save more lives. However, there’s a risk that comes from going too far with this. Patients require that sympathy and compassion that you get when treated by a human being, so they’re not about to embrace being looked after by computers. Still, it’s clear that there’s a lot to be gained from revolutionising the industry with new and advanced technology.
A middle ground will need to be established where both sides complement one another. For people to get the best healthcare experience possible, they need the efficiency and intellect of digital assistance, mixed with the sensitivity of human staff. Without either, the industry can never reach its full potential.
Without technology, modern society can’t thrive, and this stuff is only going to develop further with each passing year. With the ability to eliminate human error, improve risk management, and put more time in healthcare workers hands, it’s clear that its presence in the healthcare industry is a welcome one. It just needs to ensure that it doesn’t overstep the mark.