Technology is making US healthcare safer

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Technology has been used as a tool that aids and improves safety in US healthcare for a good amount of time now but the recent COVID-19 outbreak has promoted healthcare providers to accelerate the use of technology at a much quicker rate.

The coronavirus pandemic has shifted the focus towards healthcare and the different types of technology can assist in the current situation and in future healthcare crisis scenarios.

1. Robotics

Robotic technologies appear in many areas that directly affect patient care and experience. 

They can be used to disinfect patient rooms and operating suites, reducing risks for patients, medical personnel, and help control the spread of COVID-19.

Some robots work in laboratories to take samples and then to transport, analyze, and store them. 

The robotic lab assistant can locate that vessel and draw the blood with less pain and anxiety for the patient as it removes the element of potential human error.

In larger facilities robotic carts carry bed linens and even meals from floor to floor, riding elevators and maneuvering through automatic doors. 

There are also “gears and wires” robotic assistants that help paraplegics move and can administer physical therapy.

2. VR and AR 

Virtual Reality implies a complete immersion that shuts out the physical world, whereas Augmented Reality adds digital elements to real life.

Both Virtual reality and Augmented reality are being explored for many applications, from gaming and entertainment to medicine and education.

This groundbreaking technology’s use case in healthcare pitches how AR application helps reconstruct tumors in 3D so surgeons can view X-rays in real-time without any harmful radiation exposure to the patient. 

VR is often used to treat patients with severe social anxiety disorders that disrupts their normal behaviors such as visiting the store to grab groceries, VR is used as it creates an environment that replicates a real one but with the element of “danger” remove 

3. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is used in healthcare as a tool to predict treatments and care using  AI algorithms.

This allows healthcare providers to mine medical records, design treatment plans, or create drugs faster and assign and allocate different types of treatment, allowing more staff to focus on the quality of care received. 

Many large tech companies have developed healthcare AI-based software, for example, Google’s DeepMind created an A.I. for breast cancer analysis. The algorithm outperformed all human radiologists on pre-selected data sets to identify breast cancer, on average by 11.5%

4. Wayfinding Technology 

Patients, visitors, and staff getting lost seem pretty inevitable given the current wayfinding signage in most hospitals.

Indoor Blue Dot Mobile Apps have enabled patients, visitors, and staff to navigate the indoors just like the outdoors with blue dot positioning, animated walking routes, and turn-by-turn prompts, much like Google Maps for healthcare campuses.

This navigation technology isn’t just restricted to the indoors either, the software connects with Google Maps or Waze, directing you to the hospital, find the nearest parking spot all before zooming in and enabling you to navigate the indoors. 

The use of such technologies has been implemented in the USA with huge success for both patients and employees. 

The implementation of these proven technologies allows healthcare providers to not only better internal operations but also the patient experience. 

Patient experience has been proven to be linked to net margin increases of over 4% in high performing Hospitals.

So it’s imperative that healthcare providers look to these new technologies that allow them to regain public trust in terms of safety and ultimately stay open.  

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