Healthcare sees rapid improvement from technology
It may not be the first thing you contemplate when considering the impact of technology advances, but healthcare IT is perhaps where we see the most personal impact on vast numbers of people. Healthcare IT plays an important role in the future of every person on this planet, from healthcare management to medications to the way patients are treated. These five stories give you a good idea of the extensive impact of changes in healthcare IT and their impact on humanity.
Inside healthcare’s digital future: Monitoring someone’s health may no longer require extended hospital stays or invasive testing as healthcare and IoT find common ground ranging from wearables to ingestibles to automated linking between symptom management and environmental monitoring. Taking a broad, holistic approach to understanding a patient’s needs and behaviors allows for a more effective and successful range of treatments.
How emerging healthcare technology is changing the workplace for nurses: Nurses are the frontline army in the battle for effective healthcare, and IT technologies are changing the way they do their jobs. Technology has allowed nurses in chronically short-staffed hospitals to do more with less and minimize the impact of staffing issues on the care they provide.
Technology has also given nurses better tools, enabling greater accuracy, improved patient outcomes, reduced staff injuries, and simpler, more effective access to information.
Speeding drug discovery with AI and big data: The current state of drug development is a lengthy, expensive process, and to a certain extent, it is a shot in the dark. Only one out of thousands of potential compounds make it through the research, trial, and review pipeline to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and move into large-scale manufacturing.
The cost of developing a single drug is staggering. A study by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development found that it costs more than $2.5 billion to develop a drug. Other estimates put it higher: $4 billion, or even as high as $11 billion. But AI, cloud computing, IoT, and big data are all reducing the cost and time it takes to develop and distribute new, highly effective medications.
Can prescription foods change your life? We’ve long known that a proper diet has a tremendous impact on our health, but are we now getting to the point where a doctor will be able to prescribe not simply a diet, but the specific foods you eat and the groceries you buy?
Food plans are not new, but the expanding range of food delivery services—from diet meal subscriptions to services that deliver prepackaged meals consisting of healthy choices the recipient prepares from scratch themselves—means that the concept is already getting a tryout in our collective consciousness. How soon will it be before our physician will be able to prescribe a meal service, and then, using data from IoT devices such as wearables and environmental sensors, see in real time the effectiveness of the food plan and its impact on our health and well-being?
AI soon to be your BFF and mental health therapist? If anything, social media has made us less social, replacing in-person interaction with families and friends with likes, clicks, and once-removed Internet connections. Studies have shown that this type of interaction is leading to an increase in depression and feelings of loneliness and isolation, classic forbearers of mental illness. While AI can't fix this issue, it can interact with individuals and look for the signs of potential problems. Given the correct permissions, your AI friend could even contact your real-life connections and let them know to reach out. Or they may just let you know that perhaps it's time to get out of the house and stretch your legs, much in the way that your smart watch tells you that you have been sitting at your desk for far too long.
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