The healthcare sector thrives on advances in technology. Whether that comes from new machinery that allows doctors to better diagnose a patient, or a new vaccination that protects against a disease, advances in medicine are vital if medical institutions are going to continue to protect the public against the many different afflictions that they can suffer from.
Importantly, it is not just advances in technology that is directly related to medicine that is important. Innovations that may not seem to have a direct influence on the industry can turn out to be extremely important when applied correctly. Such is the case with mobile devices, particularly smartphones and tablets. What started out as the simple creation of new products that the public could engage with has actually sparked a revolution in the medical industry, offering new ways to access information and provide treatment for many different issues.
Here we take a look at some of the many ways that mobile devices have revolutionised the healthcare sector and helped bring it up to speed with the 21st century.
Greater Access to Information
Information is at the core of everything that health professionals do. Simply put – the more that they have the better able they are to treat their patients.
Before the advent of mobile technology, a doctor would have to gather information directly from a patient, before having it analysed on a computer so that they could make decisions. While this is a process that is still in place for some issues, mobile technology has allowed for a much smoother flow of information, thus allowing for quicker diagnoses and patient evaluations.
Today a doctor could walk into a patient’s room holding a tablet, which is directly linked to the hospital servers. Using this tablet they can call up the patient history and find out everything that they need to know in an instant. They can also record new information and, in some cases, use that information to decide on new treatment plans without ever having to leave the room.
Furthermore, patients can now provide information to doctors much more efficiently using their own mobile devices. Instead of having to travel to the hospital to provide updates, a handy mobile app on a smartphone can be used to track progress, with the information being sent directly to their medical professional to allow them to decide on the next course of action.
With the right software in place, mobile technologies allow for a faster and more effective flow of information than ever before, allowing for better treatment as a result.
New Business Opportunities
The NHS is a wonderful thing, but the fact remains that money is always going to be an important factor in the healthcare industry. Even moving away from those primary sources of healthcare, there are many industries surrounding the sector that serve to benefit from improvements in mobile technology and the merging of said technologies with healthcare.
We have already spoken about the increased flow of information, and that gives rise to a number of opportunities that previously didn’t exist.
For example, analytics firms could use anonymous information gathered from mobile technology to better determine the future of the industry as a whole and allow the likes of insurance companies to make more informed decisions.
That’s just one minor example, but the fact remains that mobile technology offers business opportunities that simply didn’t exist a decade ago. The increased amount of information that is now available can be put to many uses, all because the mobile sector has experienced such an explosion in popularity in recent years.
Improved Patient Interaction
Coming back to the issue of direct patient care, one of the major complaints that many patients have with medical institutions in general is a lack of direct lines of communication to people who can help them with a problem. Many people don’t want to have to wait days, or even weeks, for information or an appointment, particularly if the information provided in that appointment doesn’t lead to new treatment plans.
Mobile technology allows for a transfer of information between patients and medical professionals, but also opens up a direct line of communication that both can take advantage of.
This increased level of engagement allows for more convenience and a better level of transparency for the patient. Instead of waiting in long lines to get information, they can request it via a mobile app and receive it in a much shorter period of time. Alternatively, if a patient needs to make a claim on their medical insurance, mobile technology can allow them to cut out much of the paperwork that is associated with such a claim and get to the end result much more quickly.
In short, mobile technology offers improved communication channels at all levels of the medical profession, meaning that patients are not only better informed but feel like they can get what they need using a more effective technology.
On the most basic of practical levels, human error can cause a number of issues in healthcare. An incorrect piece of data can lead to misdiagnosis of issues, which can cause plenty of problems in the long term.
While mobile technology doesn’t eradicate that problem completely, it does allow for the implementation of measures that can validate data or automate processes to a much higher level than they could be done on a manual basis.
Imagine a mobile app that pops up an instant notification if you enter data that doesn’t match historical data for a patient. Just checking to make sure that what you have entered is correct can go a long way towards identifying small mistakes.
Alternatively, a mobile app that eliminates the risk of overprescribing medication is a possibility. Perhaps it could notify the doctor of the average prescription for patients based on historical data, or alert them if they amount they have entered is higher than recommended levels. They are all small things, but mobile technology not only makes them possible, but allows for such issues to be caught at the point of entry, rather than later on down the line.