How Innovative Technology Is Improving Patient Outcomes
Recently, healthcare had made some enormous progress. More compact and powerful hardware, along with increased competition and demand, has fueled intense research to bring us insights and tools that weren’t possible a generation ago. Here are just a few of the ways that technical innovation is creating more positive patient outcomes.
Monitoring patient vitals has gone way beyond attaching wires and sensors directly to the skin. Today’s electronics allow medical sensors to be built right into hospital clothing, a technology that’s become known as fibertronics. The original concept had clothing such as shirts where traditional sensors were permanently attached to measure and transmit vitals like temperature, pulse, respiration, and even blood sugar levels.
With fibertronics, an array of tiny sensors and microchips can be wired right into hospital garb. This is hardly noticeable for the patient, and fibertronics actually provides more consistent and comprehensive information.
The data that is provided by hospital sensors is taking the form of telemedicine. It can be uploaded to hospital computers anywhere in the world, where it’s analyzed by increasingly advanced algorithms that learn and adapt to patient trends. The results are instantly transmitted to viewable screens. Nursing staff can see essentially real-time reporting and react accordingly. Many systems can also provide visual and audio alerts if these readings fall outside safe thresholds.
This provides a level of visibility into the condition of ICU or incapacitated patients that is saving lives. Constant monitoring allows for more collaboration and better emergency management among nursing staff.
The rapid evolvement of biologic materials that can be applied with 3D printing methods has opened the doors to astonishing possibilities for surgeons. While there is still some controversy surrounding the subject, laboratories can use stem cells to generate a sampling of the patient’s own cell types for a variety of applications. Today’s surgeons have already managed to recreate bones, arteries, skin, and even liver tissue to give those suffering from disease or traumatic injury new hope.
With bioprinting, doctors could recreate replacement parts to precise custom dimensions, so that even those born with birth defects may be able to lead normal lives.
AR and VR
Virtual reality has gone way beyond a video gamer’s paradise to helping improve medical outcomes. Surgeons faced with difficult procedures can review and practice them in virtual reality before cutting into the patient. Augmented reality adds something to the experience, such as providing important textual information to students using this technology to understand different treatments.
Patients about to undergo these procedures can also immerse themselves in VR to see for themselves exactly what will be happening. Viewing the entire procedure can give them a greater understanding and peace of mind. VR can also help them to understand and appreciate their own post-op obligations for ideal recovery.
Keeping patients educated and informed on their medical conditions and treatment is an important aspect of achieving the most successful outcomes and improving HCAHPS scores. Modern technology programs can automatically update patients on their own diagnosis, treatment, and recovery programs. Patients can read explanations and view video feeds related to their prognosis at every stage of the journey from examination to recovery.
Those undergoing treatment can interact with digital resources for viewing appointment and medication schedules, the identity and background of primary caregivers, dietary requirements, and even consult through video chat. Giving patients more information on their own condition and treatments will empower them to have a greater impact on their own recovery.
These are just a few of the emerging technologies that are providing healthcare professionals with superior tools and techniques. But helping patients to understand their own part in the healing process is also essential.
About the author: Anica is a professional content and copywriter from San Francisco, California. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.
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