A Look at How New Tech is Giving Patients More Control Over Their Health
MAR 06, 2017 17:35 PM
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A Look at How New Tech is Giving Patients More Control Over Their Health

By Larry Alton

Technological innovation and the healthcare industry are forever intertwined. There’s always some new procedure, device, or software program coming down the line that’s supposed to change or improve a certain area of the industry. And while each technology has its own specific influence, the vast majority are working together to provide patients with more control over their experiences.

Fully Integrated Online Platforms

If you live in a major city or largely populated suburban area and have been to the doctor lately, you may have received something about signing up for an online patient platform or portal. (MyChart is one of the better-known ones.)

While you may assume that these online platforms are just another useless tool, they’re actually really helpful. They serve as a safe and secure place to consolidate all of your health records, bills, test results, and communications with doctors. And, when you give the platform permission, this information can be accessed from doctor’s office to doctor’s office. The result is less time spent in waiting rooms filling out information, less frustration tracking down bills, and easier access to your doctor.

Scheduling Screenings Online

There are many reasons why people aren’t more proactive about their health, but convenience and privacy are at the top of the list. Let’s touch on convenience first. People often don’t know who to call, where to go, whether a provider is permitted under their insurance coverage, or how to set up meetings. They also hate they idea of setting up a consultation and then scheduling another appointment to actually deal with the issue. Because of these hassles, they choose to just live with the issue they’re dealing with.

As for privacy, people don’t always feel like their information is safe or anonymous. The last thing they want to do is stand in a crowded waiting room and have a lengthy conversation with a receptionist about a personal health issue.

This is why new advancements in this area are so welcome – especially when it comes to a very personal area of health like STDs. Thanks to new online tools, patients can schedule STD tests from the comfort of their own home without having to go through the embarrassing process of contacting their primary care physician. How’s that for some much-needed progress?

Digital Heart Devices for Home Use

In many areas of the country, healthcare providers are giving patients self-testing services that they can take home with them to monitor their changing symptoms and conditions. For example, the Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust has recently launched a tool that lets patients with heart failure and lung disease stay on top of vitals and be alerted when serious changes occur.

“Under the new system, patients are given a medical device and training to monitor their vital signs at home. These include blood pressure, temperature, weight, pulse rate and oxygen saturation,” Medical Plastic News reports. “The information is then transmitted safely and securely to their clinician, who uploads the data onto their patient record.”

In this case, there are just 30 devices with room for up to 240 patients to use the service during the first year. However, there are many different examples of similar services occurring all over the country. Should trial runs go well, this could be the next major trend in healthcare.

The Future of Healthcare

While there’s currently a lot of uncertainty in the healthcare industry in terms of coverage and public policy, one thing is clear: The future of healthcare technology is bright. Patients are gaining more control over their experiences and everyone is happier. That’s something everyone can root for.


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