Some technologies that seemed futuristic even 15 years ago – video calls, wearable devices, biometrics – are recognized as part of our lifestyles today. How do these new tools come into play in a medical setting? And what else can patients and physicians look forward to using in the future? Here are the latest tech advancements that may be coming soon to an office near you.
Voice recognition software has come a long way in the last decade. Many practices use it to facilitate telephone communication, take notes, and save time on messaging. Instead of spending time at the computer or typing into a mobile device, physicians and nurses can dictate notes about a patient visit and generate documentation from that recording. This saves healthcare providers time, and can guarantee better accuracy and a higher level of detail in their notes. In fact, recent findings showed that when Infirmary Healthcare in Alabama implemented voice-enabled documentation via their electronic health record system, they increased the speed of their physician workflows on smartphones and tablets.
Biometrics are an area whose potential healthcare is just beginning to explore. Using your fingerprint to unlock personal mobile devices is great…but how about a scan that matches you to your medical records and verifies your information when you check in to your doctor’s office or even the emergency room? This may sound far-fetched, but recently an Indiana hospital implemented biometrics to match patients and their data. This way of identifying patients not only improves patient safety, it also gives doctors faster access to the information they need to provide the best care to a patient.
Video calls are an alternative offered by some doctors as part of telemedicine initiatives. Rather than coming to the office, patients with mobility challenges or at a great distance can have face time with their doctor via a variety of video calling options. These in-person encounters can save time and money for both the provider and the patient, while still allowing for an individual, personalized experience tailored to the patient’s needs.
Other new technology enables patients to take charge of their own health initiatives. With most people today using mobile devices – either tablets or smartphones – a wide variety of apps have emerged that help a growing portion of the patient population to track and change their habits for better health. Patients can now use their own devices to track information that doctors can use to monitor and treat chronic conditions such as diabetes. Diabetes management applications can help patients track their glucose levels, understand how well they are managing their disease, and share information with doctors ahead of upcoming visits.
Wearable devices, whether they are simple step trackers or more sophisticated pieces of tech that measure a variety of health factors, are becoming useful tools for providers when helping patients look at lifestyle changes. They can save time for patients who use them to transfer information to other devices and applications. Heart rates, activity levels, and more can be used to analyze the patient’s current regimen and look at changes they can make for optimal health results.
With new advances and inventions arriving every day, the field of healthcare can only grow in its use of the latest tech to improve patients’ lives. These tools can help providers collect important patient data and save time on documentation, and give patients a tangible way to be more proactive about living longer, healthier lives.