What drives healthcare technology innovation? Demand. In healthcare, the demands include lower costs, higher quality and access to the latest discoveries – and these demands are driven by patients.
Gone are the days of the doctor dropping by the house for a quick consult – or are they?
The advent of virtual doctor visits, telemedicine delivering home healthcare in rural areas, and surgeons performing life-saving procedures from thousands of miles away with robotics means full service health care at home is close to becoming a reality.
Inventors in the healthcare arena are working on voice recognition software physicians can use to more easily access patient health information. They should be able to coordinate care and receive data from clinical trials to help make care recommendations without ever having to lay hands on their computers. This leaves more time for talking with the patient, and diagnosing and treating the malady.
For patients, programs and apps are being developed to make access and information closer than ever. One such app, ZocDoc, allows consumers to indicate the type of physician needed, set a place, a time, and insurance requirements; in seconds a list of physicians with available appointment times appears. The appointment can be booked and pre-visit information collected all before crossing the office threshold, or dailing a phone number.
For migraine headache and allergy sufferers, there are programs that allow individuals to track the events and the symptoms, what caused the onset and they even suggest possible options for alleviating the discomfort.
Patients already have monitors that feed data from their heart monitors over the phone to their physician’s office, why not live feeds of vital signs to help ward off potential heart attacks or strokes?
Patients often want the same immediate access to diagnoses and treatment that they want from social media. They want information and speed. Many companies are investing in entrepreneurship in healthcare. Grants and awards are available for all manner of information gathering hardware and software that make health care instantly accessible.
The future for informaticists is bright. Clinicians such as doctors and nurses; IT professionals with backgrounds in information management and computer science; professionals who manage medical records departments; and health science librarians are among those who work in areas seeing tremendous growth and opportunities.
Research and development of new technologies will require the strengths of all these disciplines to continue moving healthcare into the future and meet consumer demand.