Nobody in their wildest dreams would have anticipated how far information technology has changed healthcare, especially in the last two decades. Information technology has pretty much shaped healthcare in this period of time and has added so much value to it. One could have never imagined a “marriage” between healthcare and information technology two decades ago, but today the driving and most impactful changes in healthcare is coming thanks to information technology. The next big thing in healthcare always has a stamp of information technology on it.
Information technology has so far changed the entire landscape of healthcare by making it so much more accessible to people, increasing its efficiency and reducing a lot of costs associated with healthcare as well. We expect information technology to continue to play a significant role in shaping the future of healthcare as much as it has in the past if not any more. Let us look at some of the aspects of healthcare information technology that’s going to pave the way for better health for the billions of people around the world.
Healthcare information technology is going to further help in bringing healthcare to the less fortunate people and people living in remote areas. Information technology is helping in penetrating into the population of the more remote areas and providing them with the adequate healthcare they require.
Advancement in healthcare information technology means that physicians also have to spend lesser time with patients which gives them the opportunity to serve more patients in a shorter span of time. Going forward we can see this having a large impact on healthcare in general with specialist physicians being able to delegate more of their work to general physicians thereby largely increasing their productivity and making them available to more people. This increase in efficiency is going to come at a time when we’re going to see a shortfall in the number of specialist physicians and hopefully healthcare information technology can boost the supply of such specialist physicians by increasing their efficiencies.
Electronic Health Records
Electronic health records has helped streamline the process of healthcare to a large extent. Even though we’ve advanced a lot in terms of keeping and tracking electronic health records, it hasn’t been adopted enough yet. The kind of growth rate we expected to see with the adoption of electronic health records has not been seen yet. Large parts of the world where such electronic health records could change the way health records are kept and how it’s administered still have to see its adoption. Having the ability of keeping of a track record of one’s medical history is very important in fighting some of the most well-known and dangerous diseases.
With information technology becoming more and more a core part of healthcare we can expect the cost of healthcare to come down in the future aided by information technology. Multiple factors combined such as higher efficiency and better accessibility will help make healthcare cheaper and more affordable to the masses.
Standardization of Electronic Records
We still see today that electronic records maintained across different organizations that provide healthcare are not able to seamlessly integrate with one another. In the future, we can expect a more seamless integration of health records being kept by these organizations which can make them more easily accessible across the board. This will drastically reduce the amount of paperwork required by individuals seeking healthcare benefits and also hugely increase the efficiency in maintaining these records since everything will go paperless and become electronic.
Focus on Preventing Diseases
It’s very well known in the medical world that keeping a person healthy is much easier and less expensive than treating an ill person. With technology coming to the forefront of healthcare this has been a key focus area. The medical world is trying to track our bodies more closely in order to be able to predict an illness much before it occurs by tracking key parameters of our body. Being able to prevent diseases like diabetes or even something like a heart attack has been on the top of the list of things researchers have been trying to achieve.
Since it is significantly cheaper to prevent diseases rather than curing it, governments across the world are spending a large chunk of the money earmarked for healthcare towards healthcare information technology specifically. This should help them bring down costs of healthcare besides increasing efficiencies over a period of time. Developing countries especially can benefit a lot from healthcare information technology as it can help in preventing outbreaks of major diseases that are plaguing the country.
There is a lot that’s happening in healthcare information technology and we can only see things picking up in the future. Public and private organizations are stepping up their spending in this field and the future is looking bright for the field as well as for all of us who are waiting to get access to new technological developments in the field of healthcare.