From blockchain to mobile payments, new technology and apps are changing the way the healthcare industry works. These changes cover everything from patient care and interactions to maintaining records to payments and card collections. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals use these apps as do patients, to make the whole experience more interactive, accurate and convenient.
Much of this technology is already in use, and some is in development. Mobile applications based on Blockchain, the Internet of Things or IoT, augmented reality and big data analytics are transforming the healthcare landscape. By the year 2020, the market for mobile healthcare apps is expected to grow to over $84 million, according to Healthcare Mobility Solutions.
Some of the ways in which the new technology is shaping healthcare will look familiar. They give patients increased access to information about their own medical data and available healthcare options. They improve communications between patients and doctors and between healthcare professionals, personalizing and improving treatment. Here are some of the ways in which new technology and mobile applications are changing medical care.
Patient Care and Monitoring
The Internet of Things or IoT is already in use connecting devices, buildings, and software via mobile apps. When connected to medical devices, it can make it easier for doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to track patient profiles and modify treatment and medication if necessary.
Teleconferencing is already a reality in many fields and can be used in extending the reach of medical care to underserved areas and to patients with limited mobility. It will improve the accessibility of quality medical care. The number of virtual medical visits is already rising. As far back as 2014, Computer World magazine reported that one out of six doctor visits in the US and Canada was virtual. With 75 million of 600 million appointments being online, the total savings for the healthcare system were estimated to be $ 5 billion.
Other mobile apps promote greater patient engagement by recording medical data, including past medical history, performance metrics, feedback and treatment patterns, and schedules. This data can be accessed by medical professionals as well via a smartphone application, helping them make better decisions.
Accessibility of Medical Care
Another way in which internet technology is improving access to medical care is through apps that help patients to find medical professionals near them, to learn about their services and qualifications and to read other patients’ reviews. Some apps will also store patients’ medical data, including lab reports.
Apps can also be used by patients to schedule appointments, store data and compare costs. Some can also be used to buy medications online at a lower cost.
Training and Diagnosis
While most people may be most familiar with Augmented Reality or AR through video games and movies, it is already being used in the medical field for training in diagnosis and surgery. AR creates an interactive virtual environment that simulates real world settings. It can be used to simulate the real world setting of diagnosis and treatment. Like other apps, it can be accessed by large numbers of people from different locations via their mobile devices.
Record Keeping and Data Analysis
Blockchain has gained fame and even notoriety as a cryptocurrency. But it has many other applications. It is essentially a way of keeping a record of transactions through peer-to-peer databases, and a way of making the information available to a large community. This is relevant to the needs of the healthcare industry for secure online record keeping that cannot be hacked or tampered with. Secure retention of patient data is an ongoing concern in the industry and blockchain may be one of the solutions.
Big data is another new technology that is already in use but has not yet reached its full potential. Big data analytics processes and analyzes huge amounts of digital information in different formats, and has many uses in the management of medical records and resources. It also reduces the need for cumbersome storage of large amounts of paper records.
Mobile payments are becoming popular in many industries, including healthcare. Their convenience and flexibility make them a good choice for patients. Many also offer payment plans and reminders when payments are due.
Some Healthcare Apps That Are Already in Use
While these apps seem very futuristic, many are already in use. In some ways, the future of healthcare is taking shape before our eyes. It offers patients, medical professionals and management many tools to make healthcare more accessible, personalized, convenient and accurate.
AirStrip connects clinicians and patients across boundaries to improve medical care and patient engagement.
CarePassport allows patients to collect and access their medical data in a single app. This can include images, lab results, dental records, reports and more, even if they are from different healthcare providers. The records can be shared with medical professionals and accessed in a number of ways including mobile devices and healthcare provider records.
In the world of healthcare technology, the future is happening now. It’s empowering patients, improving communication, and giving healthcare professionals access to the information they need to provide better care and personalized treatment.