When we think about healthcare and the “technology” part of it, the very first images our minds would most likely conjure up are those of large machines or medical devices that are being used for countless medical procedures. However, that’s exactly what’s changing.
As Anderson Horowitz put it, Software is eating up the world. If someone said that software runs the world, no one would disagree. And why would they? Over the last decade, consumer tech companies like Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp have overpowered our lives like nothing else in human history.
But what about enterprise software? To what degree does technology influence them? Well, there are some businesses and industries that lean more heavily on technology than others, such as the automotive industry or the aviation industry, etc.
However, one industry where the use of technology in the daily lives of people has mostly been limited is seeing a huge surge when it comes to using a wide variety and unique types of technologies in this post-pandemic world. That industry is healthcare.
When we think about healthcare and the “technology” part of it, the very first images our minds would most likely conjure up are those of large machines or medical devices that are being used for countless medical procedures. However, that’s exactly what’s changing. Enterprise software is slowly but surely making its way into the healthcare providers as well as consumer’s day to day activities.
In an industry where technology was previously mostly limited to hospitals and clinics offering services such as any type of body scan(s), in-house lab testing etc., it is now branching out into the daily lives of people in 2021 and a post-pandemic world. But what does that exactly mean? And how is technology making its presence felt in the healthcare industry today? Well, let’s look at a few examples:
1. Technologies like chatbot and virtualized patient care offer a mechanism to assign the right level of urgency to wounds or illnesses and decide the order of treatment and at a much smaller scale. This allows various healthcare companies, hospitals and professionals to efficiently manage their clientele and modify/optimise their treatment accordingly.
2. With the increasing number of people consulting doctors virtually or via teleconsultation, this very crucial, and what many would consider the very first step in the medical examination process, could have AI systems in place to make the process efficient and more personalized This again could be a great tool for allowing a single medical professional to consult a greater number of patients within a limited period of time, and by extension, make healthcare more accessible (with localized language and behavior modules being pre-programmed into the AI) for a larger number of people in a shorter period of time.
3. Today, more and more healthcare infrastructures (like hospitals, clinics etc.) are investing monetary, human and R&D resources into making their digital systems stronger, more effective and more efficient. With technologies such as AI speech to text become increasingly commonplace, it lends itself only to a net positive for more and more patients being able to receive higher quality treatments.
4. Regularly monitoring patients, analysing their recovery on a day-to-day basis, and even last-minute assessments to provide proper medical prescriptions, diet charts, dos and don’ts etc. before discharging a patient from the hospital. Where can technology are involved in all this? Well, using AI analytical tools to monitor all patient parameters on a consistent basis can make this entire process that usually takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, and maybe in some cases even a few months, much more streamlined, efficient and easier to record all this data for future references.
5. The increasing use of AI in diagnostics is also being recognized during the Pandemic wherein the demand for radiologists and doctors and quick turnarounds has been realized by the healthcare professionals. Whereas these AI tools can support and augment the existing staff, replacing the doctor for various diagnosis is still a far-fetched goal which can be attained only with the digitizing the patient healthcare data and utilizing the same for training the Machine Learning models efficiently.
So, to answer the big question “how much has the importance of technology escalated in the healthcare industry post pandemic?” The simple answer, a lot. The real answer? We are just getting started. In a future that is dictated by ever-changing needs and demands of both the healthcare professionals (the services providers) and the patients (the service receivers), there is absolutely no ceiling to the extent at which various technologies could be employed to make healthcare processes easier, efficient and effective. However, the most important thing to remember in all of this is that all these technological developments are being carried out not only to keep up with the current global pandemic, but also in an effort to future-proof all healthcare systems and influence the entire healthcare industry to lean more heavily on technology than ever before.
Source: Business World