How Software is Redefining the Healthcare Experience
Medicine is a field that is always accepting of new technological developments and advancements. The mounting digitization of almost all healthcare facets has worked to completely reshape the industry, such that it has become almost impossible to encounter medical devices and processes that do not incorporate software in one way or another.
In fact, look for any medical device that comes outfitted with a battery or power cord, and there will be a software component of some kind allowing it to operate effectively. Regulatory agencies have long since acknowledged the significance and value of medical tech software.
But what exactly is medical software?
To put it plainly, medical software refers to any software item or software system designed for use in a medical context. Sometimes referred to as health information technology software, medical software, in general, is designed to assist healthcare providers to manage both their medical practices and their patients.
By and large, such software is utilized within medical settings to collect data on individual patients for a series of purposes. These include the long-term observation of patient behavior for diagnostics, as well as amassing patient data for future reference. This technology is also used for the analysis and sharing of patient records.
Types of technology that utilize medical software include:
- Health record systems such as EHR (Electronic Medical Records);
- Personal health tools such as medical smart devices and apps;
- Personal health records or PHR, used by individuals to maintain their personal health records;
- Patient portals, designed to give patients direct access to their healthcare providers. Such portals allow patients to communicate with their physicians securely and to complete various functions such as paying bills;
- Telemedicine systems allowing patients and their healthcare providers to conduct secure conversations online.
How exactly does software ‘redefine’ healthcare?
New means of keeping health records
Thanks to electronic health record software, healthcare providers are now able to collect and maintain patient data more effectively. Electronic health record or EHR software helps administrators and clinicians to carry out a range of tasks, including helping to maintain patient information; this includes their medical charts, medications they are taking, and so on. This information is kept in digital form so that other authorized users can access it with ease.
The main objective of EHR software is to provide healthcare providers with a well-organized and secure system that integrates patients across various healthcare departments.
One of the most common types of EHR software is the electronic medical record or EMR, which collects information regarding a patient’s medication, the procedures they have undergone and the general course of treatment given. The EMR acts as a digital journal keeping track of all patient activity.
Real-time exchange of patient information
As a result of medical diagnosis software, medical professionals of differing specialties can now exchange real-time information. This not only allows for quick and effective diagnosis, but it also ensures that care is given promptly.
With this software, healthcare professionals in diverse fields can easily share pertinent patient information regarding diseases and treatment histories, ensuring that collaborative intervention is always given efficiently and expediently.
For instance, a cardiologist can share his diagnosis of an individual based on any cardiovascular symptoms. At the same time, a nephrologist can also enter information based on the same individual’s kidney function so that proper medication can be given and a collaborative approach is taken.
Improved imaging and visualization
Software technology has greatly improved imaging techniques and systems such as CT scans. Advancements in technology have now enabled doctors and surgeons to plan appropriately so that real-time diagnoses can be given. Newly designed programs have even paved the way for telesurgery, in which surgical procedures are to be administered remotely.
Telemedicine systems enabling secure video conversations between patients and their healthcare providers are also a reality owing to software advancements.
As video conferencing continues to become the norm, telemedicine is proving a vital piece of the future healthcare experience. Patients can now interact with their physicians directly without necessarily having to leave the comfort of their homes, also facilitating infectious disease control where necessary.
Medical devices have become part and parcel of modern healthcare
Medical devices have become such an integral part of modern medicine that it’s almost impossible to envisage healthcare without them.
Medical software has also improved the way medical equipment and devices are managed, going a long way toward improving the quality of patient care. Software systems have additionally made it possible to track and monitor the functionality of these devices, significantly reducing equipment downtime and associated expenditure.
For example, it is now possible for a diagnostic imaging device or any other major piece of hospital equipment to store downloadable performance data, providing a timely indicator of when the device may need upgrades or service–thus preventing equipment breakdown. This not only saves much-needed funding but it also processes patients far more efficiently, delivering fewer ‘down days’ and avoiding a percentage of wasted appointments.
Software advancements have also greatly increased the array of wearable medical devices. Often referred to as medical wearables, such devices are used regularly to monitor the daily activity of patients while providing physicians with pertinent information such as heart rate, weight, body temperature and so on. For example, implantable glucose systems are today used by diabetes patients to monitor their own blood sugar levels through easily accessible apps, thus reducing the risk of unscheduled hospitalization.
As technology continues to improve, medical applications are increasingly embracing wireless communication technology including Bluetooth, making it possible for diagnoses and treatments to be given to patients remotely.
The digital transformation taking place in healthcare today does not show any signs of slowing; happening all over the world, digital innovations are shaping the direction of healthcare in the future.
Healthcare software systems come with a series of advantages built in, from helping to advance health administration to significantly reducing clinical errors.
The end result is the delivery of value-based care which has become increasingly important. Since software technology is a major driver of success, hospitals and the healthcare industry in general need to invest heavily in the research and creation of new medical software solutions.
Healthcare providers yet to leverage new software technologies are missing out on vast untapped potential. Thankfully, however, a large number of hospitals have already embraced this shift–and as a result, the future of healthcare has never looked brighter.