HOW DIGITAL HEALTH IS BRIDGING THE GAP IN HEALTHCARE.
Digital health is the use of information technology (IT) in medicine to manage illnesses and to promote wellness. What a time to be alive, a time when healthcare can be accessed by all with ease, regardless of location. The world had waited long for the integration of technology and health-care, and then the pandemic ‘Covid’ came and what we thought wouldn’t happen in half a decade is being accelerated. Although digitalization of healthcare had been around for a while, but never like this.
Digital health has made diagnosing and treatment easier than it ever was. The pandemic illuminated the gap/divide between technology and the healthcare system, it made medical practitioners go into overdrive. Walk-in consultations were replaced with telephone and online consultations, instead of manual search for patient’s files, it could just be downloaded from the cloud. Digital consultations rose from 19% to 48% during the first wave of the pandemic.
Digital health-care has a broad scope and includes the use of wearable technologies, mobile health, tele-health, health information technology, and telemedicine. I’ll explain a few below.
1. Wearable technologies; it includes electronic devices that people can wear. It enables continuous monitoring of the patient’s physical activities and behaviors, as well as physiological and biochemical criterion during daily life.” The information collected is sent to the cloud, where the doctor can access it in real time. Use of wearable devices has various advantages like;
· Earlier detection of illnesses/diseases
· It reduces the stress of a walk-in consultation
· It reduces the spread of infection; since you do not have to leave the comfort of your home and come in contact with sick people
· Real time monitoring, instead of the infrequent doctor’s visit.
2. Telemedicine; is simply medical/ clinical services from a distance/remotely. It allows a patient to be diagnosed and treated from a distance using telecommunication technology.
Benefits of telemedicine are;
· Reduction in the spread of contagious diseases
· Reduced travel expenses
3. Tele-health; it refers to the electronic devices used to provide services to patients. Without tele-health, tele-medicine wouldn’t exist. Although the use of tele-health is for both remote and close proximity situations. Benefits of tele-health are;
· It cuts costs for both the hospital and patient.
· It’s makes healthcare readily available to patients all over the world.
· It completely eliminates unnecessary hospital visits, etc.
4. Mobile healthcare (mhealth); it’s the use of mobile phones or wireless technology in the delivery of health care. Mhealth is changing health-care as we know it, patients can access medical services regardless of their location. Mobile health can also be used to track epidemics, chronic diseases and general medical surveillance. The technological reach increases daily, people are getting smartphones, smart watches and gadgets everyday, eventually, healthcare would literally be at the tip of our fingers. The greatest advantage of mobile health is the fact that patients can take control of their own health, which is crucial amidst the shortage of healthcare practitioners.
BENEFITS OF DIGITAL HEALTHCARE
· It expands the reach of healthcare; location doesn’t stop anyone from getting medical attention
· Reduced cost for both medical institution and patient; reduced travel expenses for the patient and low staffing cost for the hospital, applications would be used instead.
· The use of electronic health records makes easy for storing and retrieval; all information are stored on the cloud and can be uploaded to or downloaded from anytime.
· Improved medication safety through increased legibility; poor writing by doctors has causes over 7000 deaths and 1.5 million medical errors yearly.
Digital health-care is revolutionizing the healthcare system. Robots are also being incorporated into surgery and no, it’s nothing like terminator, instead the mortality rate by surgical errors is greatly reduce and less invasive. With just a small incision, the robot can get to work, it doesn’t get tired, whatever is programed on it, is what it does. Imagine a surgery on the spine, instead of a huge incision running down the length of your back, a robot would just make a tiny incision and get the job done, making scarring less of a problem and recovery easier. There are also robots for sanitizing the hospital. Hospital acquired infections (HAI) is a major problem in the healthcare sector, because humans can’t always clean a room and sanitize with 100% sterility due to various reasons, so this robot can sanitize all the hospital rooms in minutes, using UV rays that can kill various infectious bacteria. The list could go on forever if I want to talk about it all, but the truth is the future is digital.
Digitalization of healthcare has become an integral part of medicine and the advantages are endless, although it has its downsides like everything else, but the benefits greatly outweighs it. There are limitless possibilities to how far digital healthcare will go, but the world would be a better place because of it. With Medicliq Healthcare services you as an individual and a health service business can start to leverage digital health. Ask us how.