It’s hard to deny that technology plays an essential role in the medical field. Without technology, we wouldn’t have the advancements that we do now, so what’s next? We have compiled three of the most influential trends to look out for in medical technology for 2020.
Telemedicine is one of the most extensive growing technologies in the U.S. healthcare system. In a vast country where access to healthcare providers is often limited, and telemedicine is helping to bridge that gap. In urban areas, underserved communities face problems from growing wait times, which have increased from 18.5 days to 24 from 2014, according to a 2017 Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times. Telemedicine is helping to make it easier for patients to get access to specialists, which helps to improve diagnosing and treatment. The growing availability of electronic records has helped to simplify the forwarding of documents to specialists. In rural areas, this helps to ensure that they have expert care where they otherwise wouldn’t.
Cloud Computing in Healthcare
A wide variety of private, public, and hybrid cloud-based programs are available now for the sharing of large files. Healthcare organizations are trying to come up with a way to run and maintain efficient infrastructure for growing record-keeping needs. Cloud computing is a very appealing choice for addressing this need. The use of such technology gives both patients and health care providers access to records, and helps to streamline the consultation process. HIPAA compliance tends to become a significant issue in this type of technological environment and causes many organizations to shy away from fully embracing it. This is partially due to the regulations regarding electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI). When using this technology, there needs to be a higher level of security for messages, audio, video, and emails to ensure that they are in full compliance with HIPAA. Using cloud technology requires that every step of the process needs to be judiciously monitored. There are now many providers that specifically cater to organizations with HIPAA compliance needs. This change in the way that data is processed and shared helps to open the door for many more technological advancements in the medical field.
AR/VR/MR in Healthcare
Virtual and augmented reality solutions have led to significant advances in healthcare technologies. From planning procedures to educating new medical students, the field of VR and AR in healthcare has shown great promise. One of the ways these programs are helping is with patients suffering the after-effects of a stroke by helping to create an environment that is robust enough to help foster motor deficiencies that foster improvement. VR/AR has helped to develop enhanced simulated environments that enable diverse interactions that wouldn’t otherwise be possible during physical therapy. These environments can gather data through advanced monitoring systems that can, in turn, be used by therapists in devising custom care plans. In Connecticut, Maplewood Senior Living has utilized VR headsets to help work with patients that suffer dementia and other cognitive impairments. They are afforded access to activities and experiences that are unavailable to them in their current environment. AR systems help to permit doctors and surgeons to stay grounded in actual procedures while having access to all the data available through other technologies. Medical students have the opportunity to use this technology to train in specific procedures within the security of their classrooms. Healthcare is predicted to become one of the essential influences on the future of AR.
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