Healthcare management is a combination of information science, computer science, information technology and healthcare. It incorporates resources, devices, and methods for optimising the acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use of data in health and biomedicine. This includes not only computers, but also clinical guidelines, medical terminologies as well as information and communication systems. Research and development efforts within the healthcare industry and ever increasing technological advancements over the last two decades have brought about momentous improvements in the quality of medical services to the patients. Developed countries are contributing a lot of resources in order to improve their healthcare systems as well as their integration with information technology. (1)
It’s a universal fact that much of the recent progress in the medical/healthcare field can be specifically attributed to technological advancements. The advantages of technology and innovation in healthcare roughly span across quality of human life, healthcare jobs and opportunities, and the global economy. It is evident that interest in medical innovation is not to slow down, especially as new investments continue to fuel the private sector. Moreover, the decline in preventable death cases as well as a general improvement in patient well-being make for an important technological advantage. Additionally, time for treatment and recovery has been substantially reduced. (2)
It’s a no-brainer that private competition is driving innovation to new heights as more and more useful gadgets are hitting the healthcare market. Most smartphones, tablets and other similar devices already help us monitor our health. With medical information available from a wide range of sources, modern patients are ‘smart individuals’ who access different apps on their gadget to keep a track of their health parameters. Consequently, the demand for more accurate and dedicated health-tracking devices has created highly specialised niches; for e.g. wearables. Wearable technologies are usually clothing items or accessories, which integrate various practical functions and features. For example, inexpensive, advanced yet comfortable wearables are available that will monitor a person’s vitals for any signs or complications related to heart failure, breathing problems, UTI or diabetes. These can notify the concerned healthcare provider at the first sign of a medical problem.(2) Another innovation is telemedicine, which merges advanced telecommunication with computer technologies. It uses information and communication technologies to offer medical support and services at distant locations. Telemedicine can provide a new model for interaction with the patients or other important entities such as hospitals, pharmacies, physicians and government agencies. In addition, more advanced telemedicine technologies, like telesurgery, will emerge; wherein robotic instruments will perform the surgery on the basis of the audio-visual data received by the surgeon present at a remote or a distant location. (3)
These innovations have paved way for provision of cost-effective e-services to the world. The combination of such wireless technologies with e-health is known as mHealth. It usually includes mobile computing, medical sensor, and communications technologies.(1) mHealth plays a crucial in enhancing communication to integrate care processes. Considering the internal processes in use at healthcare organisations, mHealth can substantially enhance the productivity of healthcare providers; thus achieving better productivity of healthcare systems. In case of external relations of healthcare organisations, mHealth can enhance transparency thereby making healthcare providers and systems accountable and ultimately empowering patients. Lastly, the greatest benefit of mHealth is to enhance the quality of life and the relevance of care. Therefore, it can help building new healthcare models, requiring a shift from inpatient to outpatient care and also enabling care delivery in rural settings and other places that lack easy access to care. (4)
As more and more drugs get developed in laboratories than ever before, thanks to technology, it is increasing scrutiny of drug submissions as well as releasing data for compliance. Needless to say, drugs must be created as safely and securely possible, and manufacturers must provide regulators with an all-inclusive account of high-quality data that is checked in through procedures and administrative controls as an integral part of manufacturers’ processes. With exhaustive reviews of laboratory results by regulators, tools and technologies are becoming more refined to create an inclusive and complete audit trail. Again, thanks to the technological advances, the modern-day innovative tools enable manufacturers to remove any kind of interference with data, leaving them with absolute clarity while disclosing data to regulators. (5)
Ever increasing innovations can certainly help engaging not only the smart patients, who by way of these wearables can monitor their own health, but also physicians and payers. As more and more innovations emerge, data exchange among healthcare stakeholders will become easier. This may eventually facilitate further discussion regarding opportunities as well as challenges and also possible gaps in care delivery.
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- Burney A, Mahmood N, Abbas Z. Information and Communication Technology in Healthcare Management Systems: Prospects for Developing. International Journal of Computer Applications (0975 – 8887) 2010; 4(2):27-32.
- The Benefits of Technology in Healthcare: Patient Care & Economic Boom. June, 2015.
- Guthart GS, Salisbury JK. The IntuitiveTM Telesurgery System: overview and application. Proc IEEE ICRA. 2000.
- Nasi G, Cucciniello M, Guerrazzi C. The Role of Mobile Technologies in Health Care Processes: The Case of Cancer Supportive Care. Eysenbach G, Tarricone R, eds. Journal of Medical Internet Research 2015; 17(2):e26.
- Francis G. The effect of new technologies on drug development. June, 2018.
Written by: Ms. Tanvi Laghate