When computers were first introduced to the healthcare industry, they were only used for administrative purposes. As regulations have changed and technology has become more advanced, healthcare professionals have begun using computers for a wider range of functions. Now, they are everywhere, including operating rooms, mobile healthcare medical carts, pharmacies, and laboratories.
Here are six ways technology has changed the healthcare industry for the better.
1. Improved patient care
Efficient and functional medical equipment is fundamental to quality patient care. Computers are now capable of monitoring information such as heart rate and blood pressure. They can also provide alerts to make staff aware of any anomalies.
Some of the more advanced computer systems can even assist doctors during surgical procedures, which can help to make operations quicker, easier, and more effective.
2. Storing medical data
Doctors and nurses no longer need to use a pen and paper for note-taking. Today, patient information is entered into a computer and saved to an electronic database. Storing data in a computer helps to eliminate human error, as medical personnel sometimes find it difficult to read the handwriting of a fellow practitioner.
3. Access to information
Fast access to important information is imperative in the healthcare industry. Doctors and nurses can now log on to internet databases with thousands of medical research papers and other helpful data. This information enables healthcare professionals to learn more about diseases and treatments they may not be overly familiar with.
4. Inventory management
Previously, medical personnel would have to check and record all inventory manually. Not only was this extremely time-consuming, but mistakes were common.
Knowing what medications are available is essential for effective patient care, so it is vital that staff can easily keep inventory accurate and up-to-date. Computers can track inventory and alert healthcare professionals when stock is running low.
Having an efficient inventory system eliminates other problems like loss or theft. Medical personnel log all prescriptions in the database and the system highlights any discrepancies immediately.
There are about 100,000 diseases currently known to medical practitioners around the world, but without the benefits introduced by healthcare technology, some of them could be difficult to diagnose.
Doctors can use computer software to examine a patient and monitor readings like blood pressure and heart rate. Other programs allow doctors to take computerized, three-dimensional CT scans, MRIs, and x-rays to locate any abnormalities. Modern medical imaging techniques can help doctors make a more confident diagnosis.
6. Data protection
Before the use of technology within the healthcare industry, doctors and nurses stored sensitive patient information in a paper-based filing system. This kind of system is an inefficient and much less secure way of storing patient data, and breaches of confidentiality have led to many lawsuits.
Computers allow medical personnel to store patient information in a secure database that is only accessible with a password.
Technology is an essential tool that benefits the medical field in many ways. Not only does it make many processes more efficient, but it is now also actively helping nurses, doctors, and surgeons save lives. Technology has revolutionized the healthcare industry, and it will continue to do so in the future.