Technological innovations have helped the healthcare industry make considerable strides in diagnosing, preventing, and treating diseases and injuries. Digitization is one of the areas which has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade. Like any other field, the use of the internet in healthcare is now necessary due to the available resources and ease of communication and sharing of information. Most hospitals have adopted electronic health records, making it easier for healthcare providers to access data and share it with other experts. Below are some other areas where the internet is improving healthcare.
Doctors Can Easily Access Resources and Share
The internet has made doctors and other medical practitioners more connected to information and other resources. Guidelines about the diagnosis and treatment of various conditions and related research are readily available on the internet. A doctor can quickly consult with others for the diagnosis of a case that they find dumbfounding. For example, there are now medical apps that allow doctors to submit and discuss unique cases with other medical practitioners worldwide.
Smarter Healthcare Devices for Taking Readings and Providing Care Without Human Intervention
Unlike before, when healthcare was labor-intensive, doctors nowadays can concentrate on the research and critical aspects, thanks to automated medical devices. These devices are now more connected, allowing a doctor to get the information they need remotely. Some medical devices are connected to systems that can get a reading and deliver a treatment report without human intervention. A good example is the automatic diabetes monitoring device that can monitor a patient’s blood sugar levels and inject insulin as required.
Machine learning in the medical world is bringing new possibilities, especially in diagnosis. For example, smart systems can help doctors determine the cases that need more attention depending on the available symptoms. When it comes to images, computers can provide data and advice on the treatment approach to take. This will help doctors make better decisions and give live-saving treatments without having to consult with imaging experts. A good example is IBM Watson Health Imaging Solutions.
More Healthcare Data for Pharmaceutical Companies
The internet has increased the adoption of electronic health records and easier accessibility of genetic data, and the result is increased chances of pharmaceuticals producing better drugs. Research on the available drugs’ effectiveness is also easier to conduct because digitizing health records has made them more accessible to the permitted individuals. Analyzing digital records is also easier than using paper documents.
Online presence may be a requirement for every hospital and clinic in the future as there has been an increasing number of online doctors who use the internet to reach large numbers of consumers. Unlike before, when doctors had to meet the patients for a diagnosis physically, the internet has made online consultations a reality, and its acceptance is increasing because they have proved to be useful during the coronavirus pandemic. Adopting online doctors can be a cost-effective way of sharing specialists between hospitals and expanding service provision to remote areas.
Apart from online consultations, other websites promote healthy lifestyles by providing relevant information. Millions of people visit these websites every day to gather information about diseases, medications, and nutrition.
Consumer-controlled Health Records
Nowadays, some countries allow consumers to store their health records on safe websites. Storing health records will enable consumers to create comprehensive records about the care provided every time they visit a healthcare service provider. The records can help them monitor and evaluate their health status and share the information to providers for better treatments. It also reduces the time used to search for records and makes it easier for clinicians to admit patients.
Some websites provide an override feature to enable care providers to access the records in an emergency. This feature can help save a life because doctors don’t have to conduct numerous tests before treatment.
Better Clinical Transactions
The internet has also led to improved clinical transactions like billing, procurement, and supply of medical equipment, inventory control, patient referrals, and health information communication like lab reports. Nowadays, most healthcare organizations have an integrated system accommodating all the above transactions to allow better communications between departments.
Hospitals are also using the internet to exchange health records with affiliated or unaffiliated health care providers if a patient decides to transfer, and whenever there is a patient referral. Since many morbidity and mortality cases are related to medical errors, increased use of the internet to promote clinical information sharing can help improve health care services by making complete information available to the care provider.
In addition to integrating clinical transactions in an institution, integrating all the players in the healthcare sector using the internet can help detect errors and protect patients. Hospitals, pharmacies, clinicians, and insurance providers also make better decisions using the available information.
Better Clinical Education
The internet has brought a lot of benefits to both the providers of clinical education and the students. First, the internet led to the introduction of new study materials like online journals, textbooks, and interactive course work. Instead of students spending too much time in lecture halls and reading books, they can learn through online research.
Most clinical schools use an apprenticeship model to teach skills like diagnosis and treatment, but using the internet can change all that as students can now access resources like sophisticated 3D simulations that demonstrate all the skills they need to learn. Unlike waiting for a real-life case to experience some diseases and medical conditions, students can replay the simulations as many times as they wish.
The simulations will also help avoid the scenario of students learning from clinicians who are not up-to-date with some issues. For example, clinicians who have only worked in a rural facility may not provide accurate information about diseases that are common in city environments.
Though the use of the internet in healthcare faces many limitations, there have been many improvements in the sector as a result of internet-enabled solutions. The primary benefit of the internet in providing healthcare services is the simplified accessibility of health-related information. Nowadays, experts in the field can easily share information and access health-related research findings over the internet. Patients can also learn more about diseases on the internet and get treatment from the comfort of their homes (visit Dr Felix for more information).