One of the things that the widespread effects of COVID-19 have taught the world is that improved methods of healthcare delivery are needed now more than ever before. Mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus has been challenging for both citizens and healthcare workers across the globe, so it’s vital that we turn our attention to the technological advancements that can help us better prevent and protect against future health crises.
What Today’s Healthcare Technology Looks Like
Though it is still a relatively new technology, the implementation of telehealth solutions for providers and patients has made a positive impact on caring for sick and symptomatic citizens in the recent stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This virtual method allows patients access to healthcare by enabling them to connect with medical professionals via their smartphones, laptops, tablets, or computers. Telehealth technology is currently offering a variety of benefits to healthcare professionals during the pandemic, including:
- Allowing doctors and nurses to care for more patients per day than they would via traditional, on-site appointments.
- Lowering the risk of spreading infection both within healthcare facilities and in the public.
- Making care for disabled or immobile patients easier.
- Enabling patients will non-COVID-19-related ailments to receive quick care without requiring a physical, in-office appointment.
- Allowing medical professionals to focus the majority of their time assisting patients with urgent, coronavirus-related healthcare needs.
What the Future Holds
Although telemedicine specifically is making a significant and positive impact on healthcare during this global health crisis, it doesn’t come without drawbacks. The term “technological advancement” itself implies that these solutions build upon existing technologies and consistently work to advance and adapt to both present and future needs.
Telehealth isn’t an all-encompassing solution that will eliminate the need for in-person medical appointments, of course, due to the fact that there are a wide range of important health procedures that can only be performed in person. For example, your smartphone doesn’t have the actual ability to administer you a vaccine or draw a blood sample for testing.
However, telehealth technology can be adapted to direct patients to local testing centers, which can allow healthcare providers to better manage the flow of patients that require physical testing. Time is also a factor in improving technology in the healthcare industry, as providers and medical staff will need to be trained to utilize the software and hardware that the telehealth practice necessitates.
MAGIC’s Contribution to Improving Healthcare Technology
Since 2017, MAGIC has been working alongside partners within the community on a project called Healthy Smart Home. The Healthy Smart Home Project uses tech innovation to provide efficient solutions for seniors who are aging in place, disabled residents needing better access to the healthcare system, and health professionals that deliver preventative care to residents in their homes. By developing open-source software and hardware solutions for implementing medically-oriented smart home solutions, we are establishing new ways for people to gather, store, analyze, and use health data in residential settings.
The Healthy Smart Home Project’s technology platform securely and privately gathers behavioral, physiologic, and environmental data and provides intelligent monitoring, analysis, and alerting to make a measurable, positive impact on residents’ health and quality of life. The confluence of IoT technology, big data analytics, and broadband connections enables an unprecedented reorientation of medical data collection, analysis, and decision-making toward a community setting.
In the event of a future health crisis similar to COVID-19, this technology will make it easier and safer for patients to be observed, diagnosed, and treated without exposing them to additional infections or health risks outside of their homes. In addition, the Healthy Smart Home project aims to make positive outcomes possible, including:
- Decreased emergency department and urgent care visits.
- Less unplanned medical appointments.
- Decreased staff time spent on unplanned medical issues.