Nowadays, technology is moving so fast that it can be daunting to try to keep up. This is particularly true for the healthcare industry, which has been strained to the gills during this historic pandemic. But such advancements are a good thing.
Cutting-edge technology can not only improve care but can save lives, and organizations that take advantage of such innovation have healthier and more productive employees, and thus healthier bottom lines. Such technological advancements can often save organizations money, to boot.
Here are some of the ways in which technology is transforming the healthcare industry.
The utilization of telehealth and other forms of virtual healthcare surged during the height of the pandemic as organizations as well as employees sought safe provision of and access to healthcare. In fact, in April of 2020, the use of telehealth – communications technology that is used to provide healthcare remotely — for office visits and outpatient care was 78 times higher than two months earlier, according to McKinsey & Company. And compared with traditional service models, telehealth realizes $361 in savings per patient.
Known as AI, this kind of technology improves the healthcare system through its ability to gather, assess, and interpret very large amounts of data. For example, it helps with the speed and accuracy of medical diagnoses, and because the technology has improved exponentially in recent years, it has the potential to offer transformative change, providing tons of benefits to providers as well as patients.
The use of robots to help with surgery can improve precision and lessens the need for invasiveness for many surgical procedures. Such technology can also lessen recovery time as well as pain levels. What’s more, robot-assisted surgery can lower stress levels for surgeons, which has been a big problem in healthcare.
Equipment and Supplies
The healthcare transformation underway also extends to the areas of supplies and equipment, in that such technology has made them easier to use. Moreover, the technology offers enhanced experiences and improved longevity. A podiatrist, for example, can purchase medical supplies that incorporate cutting-edge technology and that provide increased levels of patient care.
Often shortened to VR, virtual reality is a technology that has swiftly evolved in recent years and is upending many disparate industries including healthcare. While VR can be utilized in a variety of ways, it’s most prominent in the areas of healthcare worker training. How? The technology permits individuals to get as close as possible to the actual situation. Also, virtual reality is often used as a kind of exposure therapy to lower anxiety and pain levels.
The use of 3D printing is on the rise in healthcare since such technology can be used in a variety of ways, including to produce artificial bones, supports, and prosthetics, as well as for organ transplants and tissue repair. Most recently, scientists have begun combining MRI and ultrasound imaging with 3D printing technology to help physicians prep for fetal surgeries.
This kind of innovation permits consumers – including your employees – to monitor their health and exercise self-care in ways that once necessitated doctor visits. There are now personal EKG monitors, for example, plus ways to monitor blood glucose levels.
So, yes, technology is transforming the healthcare industry, and the above are just a few examples. If you as an employer wish to leverage innovation to further drive healthcare transformation, we suggest you check out Mercer’s Center for Health Innovation (CHI). This reputable center seeks to harness the collective influence that employers have in the marketplace for meaningful healthcare change. If you’re interested in innovating with purpose, we suggest that you learn more about CHI.