What is Health Technology?
History of medical technology and its benefits
Medical technology in China
Health Tech: U.S. Use of Blockchain
Telemedicine technologies in Germany
The Future of Medical Technology
Health technologies can facilitate the implementation of effective national health and care systems. They are defined as a data-enabled infrastructure that supports policy and planning. In addition, they can inform about effective public health and personalization of care.
The COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity to identify how health information technology can be used to improve existing health infrastructure and cats. It has been found that the use of health information technology and the application of the principles of a national health education and care system can provide information for action in response to a serious public health problem.
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The World Health Organization (WHO) defines medical technology as the application of organized knowledge and skills in the form of medicines, vaccines, medical devices and procedures, along with systems that are used to solve numerous health problems and improve the quality of life around the world. World.
Organizational systems are the most visible form of health technology; however, pharmaceuticals, procedures and devices also use computers and information systems using data to optimize their functions.
Predictive analytic algorithms have been deployed in computer-supported information systems in healthcare organizations to analyze resource gaps and plan ahead.
History of medical technology and its benefits
Prior to the digitization of healthcare, patients were more likely to be harmed by inefficient and faulty chemical systems and processes. Several medical errors arose from the underdevelopment of technology, and included drug side effects and alarm fatigue.
Alarm fatigue continues to be a problem. However, it was aggravated before the development of technology. It is defined as the repeated firing or activity of alarm systems resulting in the responder becoming desensitized. Thanks to technological development, the integration of both physiological signals and algorithmic analysis has reduced the number of false alarms.
As a consequence of greater investment in health technology, there are fewer medical errors. In addition, healthcare organizations equipped with healthcare technology are moving away from outdated paper records to electronic health records. This has led to increased patient empowerment and efficient case history documentation. Overall, medical technology has led to improved drug management, access to health information, integrated healthcare, improved diagnosis and treatment, improved public health, and greater economic savings, as well as service scalability.
While improvements have been made in healthcare technology, there are several opportunities for improvement to help with accurate diagnosis, reduce patient risk, and improve outcomes and life expectancy.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, there are discrepancies in the ratio of doctors and patients. For example, China has 2.0 doctors per 1,000 people, while the UK has 2.9 doctors per 1,000 people.
Subsequently, this leads to an average of 29.3 hours per week of patients spending online to bypass the logistical problems of delivering and receiving medical care. 25% of this time is spent on the medical activities of doctors; this is 29.2 hours per week, of which 53% is spent on medical activities.
In China, renowned ISP Tencent has built a digital infrastructure that makes it easier for patients to book appointments and is expanding the use of the WeChat messaging app so that patients can pay their medical bills. More recently, it has expanded its capabilities to include real-time online consultations via WeChat. Artificial intelligence (AI) is expanding in China’s healthcare sector and is part of the government’s “Made in China 2025” plan. It is believed that medical technologies based on artificial intelligence will improve communication between the patient and the doctor, improve diagnostics and, as a result, improve patient outcomes.
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Blockchain technology is an innovation in the healthcare technology industry. It provides a user-centric means of securely collecting health information and ensuring that it can be verified without disclosure. Blockchain systems provide a transparent and distributed ledger of records that cannot be changed without registering changes. This technology is useful in providing strong protection of patient information, as the technology can anonymize patient data while providing a means of disseminating information across diverse and fragmented healthcare systems (it is interoperable).
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has begun a pilot program in support of the U.S. Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA). This has been piloted to meet the requirements needed to identify, track and trace prescription drugs and vaccine distribution.
This pilot program demonstrated the usefulness of blockchain for connecting disparate systems and organizations to facilitate full product traceability. It also demonstrated patient safety as it reduced the time it takes to inform the supply chain of a product recall from days to seconds.
This program demonstrated that blockchain networks can play a role in overcoming the fundamental tension between the benefits of cross-industry data and the need to keep private, proprietary information. It is also believed to be necessary to eliminate supply chain risk. With the success of this initial pilot program, there are plans to move towards the industry standard of functional blockchain.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased dependence on telemedicine across multiple digital platforms. Many healthcare providers have started offering appointments through these platforms. In countries charging their citizens for healthcare, he offered compensation for telehealth and providing better billing options. Its use during the pandemic has demonstrated that these robust technology ecosystems suitable for supporting telemedicine are the future due to their convenience and flexibility.
They provide a means to connect geographically isolated groups of patients, people who work at non-traditional times, as they enhance the ability to connect with clinicians through video software installed on a computer or a mobile application installed on phones.
Germany is considered to be at the forefront of the digital healthcare transformation, helped by the pandemic as it constantly innovates and adapts its legislation accordingly. In 2019, DiGa Fast-Track was created under the Digital Health Act; in addition, several legislative changes resulted in supplements being reimbursed through German health insurance after they were prescribed by physicians.
One of these providers was the German video consultation platform Doctor Konsultation.de, which has been in high demand during the pandemic.
The pandemic has been a pivotal factor in the development of medical technology, increasing dependency and deployment of virtual care and telemedicine. Since then, it has become a major component of healthcare delivery. Therefore, health system management-mediated investment and health system restructuring in continental organizations, regulators, etc. is needed to ensure that telemedicine and other forms of health technology improve and adapt in response to changes in regulation and demand between patients and doctors.
This evolution of digital health technology is critical to reducing harm to patients, as well as ensuring the efficient use of hospital resources and economic sustainability.
A key component of this evolution is interoperability as new models of care emerge and evolve. Interoperability will enable the efficient exchange of information between healthcare facilities, organizations and geographic locations on a large scale, and will facilitate the exchange of information on a smaller scale between professionals and patients to optimize patient outcomes and quality of care. This depends on the ability of health and care IT systems to be interoperable, i.e. compatible with each other.