Healthcare technologies make providing patients with high-quality, timely healthcare possible by administering medical tests and procedures and/or referring patients to specialists. As the case may be, some technologies are designed for use in the hospital setting, while others are intended for use outside of a hospital setting.
This article aims to familiarize you with the types of technologies that healthcare providers use daily to improve your understanding of them and how they work. In particular, we will cover the following points:
If you’re unfamiliar, robotic surgery uses robotic arms to perform minimally invasive surgical procedures. Because there’s no need for a surgeon to be in the room, the risks of infection and complications are greatly reduced. Also, since robotic arms are mechanical, they don’t get tired like human surgeons do, which adds to fewer errors on the part of the robot. Moreover, robotic surgery provides better control over precision and minimizes the need for intraoperative adjustments during the procedure.
While traditional surgeons had to make small incisions and go in blindly, robotic surgery allows for far more precision and a less invasive procedure. Since most surgeries are now being performed robotically, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the technology, as it may very well be the next big thing in medicine.
An implantable defibrillator is an external defibrillator used to treat ventricular fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm that can cause sudden cardiac arrest. These devices have significantly shortened the recovery time for patients, who can now go about their daily lives after suffering a cardiac arrest. Because they’re external, they have the advantage of better and more immediate access to the heart and the ability to administer a higher dose of an electric shock compared to implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), which are injected under the skin.
External defibrillators work by detecting an abnormal rhythm in the heart and automatically delivering a specified dose of electric shock to restore the normal rhythm. They can also monitor the heart’s electric activity and detect abnormalities that may lead to cardiac arrest or fatalities.
External defibrillators are more costly than implants, but they provide better patient care; therefore, the investment usually ends up being reimbursed by Medicare, as it often times saves lives. If you’re not familiar, external defibrillators are often times required by law to be used in an ambulance, along with its corresponding AED, if the vehicle is going to be used for emergency responses such as cardiac arrest.
The last few years have seen the growth of cloud healthcare. As its name implies, cloud healthcare takes healthcare data and stores it in a remote location, improving security and allowing for more rapid access to information. This also means healthcare professionals can work remotely, which has advantages during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thanks to the rapid adoption of cloud computing, remote patient monitoring using EHRs is now possible. Healthcare providers can store patient data in an EHR system hosted in the cloud, decreasing the need to keep patient information on local servers. This also means healthcare professionals can access patient records from almost anywhere, which improves security and allows for greater mobility. Additionally, using the cloud decreases the likelihood of a system crash, as healthcare professionals have access to more servers and backups.
Also known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), heart stents are medical devices that open up clogged coronary arteries and relieve angina pectoris (chest pain). In some cases, they’re also used to prevent coronary artery spasms and reduce the risk of heart attacks in people with atherosclerosis or the hardening of the arteries. Like pacemakers, heart stents are also small and unobtrusive, so they don’t threaten a patient’s mobility. Even better, they don’t require surgery for implantation, so there’s less risk of infection.
Heart stents are usually made of stainless steel or cobalt chrome and have several slits cut into them, which provide a better blood flow than solid walls. They can be compressed to a small size for insertion and then expanded to their full size once they’re in place. Once they’re in place, they stay firm and keep the clogged artery open, so there’s no need for follow-up procedures such as antiplatelet drugs or blood thinners.
One of the biggest changes technology has brought to healthcare is the ability to operate devices with little or no touch input. Thanks to technologies such as Virtual Haptics and Force-feedback Joysticks, healthcare personnel no longer need to be physically present to provide patients with healthcare. In other words, healthcare technologies allow personnel to provide expert care virtually, improving patient safety and providing valuable time for caregivers.
Along with hands-free operation comes the ability to operate devices without taking your hands off the device, which can be a lifesaver when wearing gloves or handling potentially harmful substances. When using a healthcare technology that requires a hands-free operation, your hands will be free to do other things — such as carry items from room to room, adjust the patient’s oxygen flow, or open a sterile wrapper.
MRI Safe Imaging
While much of the attention surrounding healthcare technologies has focused on virtual haptics, force-feedback joysticks, and operating devices without taking your hands off the device, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has quietly been providing healthcare providers with MRI-safe imaging for several years.
Unlike other healthcare technologies, MRI isn’t just limited to patient care — it’s also used to study the human body, providing valuable information about the structures inside the patient’s head and overall health. In addition, MRIs aren’t affected by electromagnetic interferences, making them ideal for use in hospitals with electromagnetic sources, such as electrical equipment and medical devices.
Due to its wide range of applications, safe and accurate imaging with an MRI is essential for the survival of today’s medical practitioners.
Video conferencing and advanced computer skills allow remote healthcare facilities to provide patients with expert medical care. Healthcare telemedicine provides a means of connecting patients with specialists and healthcare facilities across the country and worldwide. In other words, Healthcare telemedicine allows patients to consult with a specialist in a remote location, using video conferencing and the interactive mouse to exchange medical information and provide diagnoses and treatment plans.
One of the major drawbacks of telemedicine is that it is time-consuming. To obtain an expert medical opinion, a patient must first establish a doctor visit and then set aside an appointment to review their health information before the doctor can provide advice. In addition, much of the communication between the doctor and the patient via telemedicine must be done via the computer. This requires both parties to have high-speed internet access, which is not always available in all medical settings.
A growing number of high-quality healthcare technologies make labeling medicinal products and equipment easier and more time-efficient. These devices allow lab technicians to label vials, test tubes, or pharmaceuticals with one button stroke. In addition, automated labeling technology makes verifying lab results much faster and more accurate. Healthcare technologies that perform these functions reduce the amount of human error and increase the efficiency of lab workflows.
Virtual visits allow healthcare providers to meet with patients anytime and anywhere, thanks to health informatics. This is particularly valuable in cases where a patient’s mobility is limited or traveling to a medical office is not a reasonable option. In a virtual visit, a healthcare provider can visit a patient at home using a computer, tablet, or smartphone. This is a time-saving alternative for both patients and healthcare providers, providing a way of keeping in touch with those you care for most.
The future of healthcare may well be in the form of a telemedicine system. These systems combine the functionality of a hospital with that of medical practice, providing patients with a centralized space to receive medical care. The system allows patients to access medical records, expert medical opinions, and prescriptions across multiple institutions. In other words, a telemedicine system connects healthcare providers and patients, collaborating to provide a better patient experience.
Familiarize Your Self Now!
Healthcare technology isn’t a new field, and while many aspects of medicine have changed over the years, the way healthcare professionals and patients interact has remained relatively the same. The lines between departments, patients, and healthcare professionals are becoming blurred thanks to modern technology and a growing understanding of the value of patient privacy. This trend makes it easier for everyone to stay connected and help provide the best possible care regardless of where you are or what device you use.