Technology has transformed every aspect of modern life, from the way we stay in touch with friends and family to the way we work. We are living in a digital age, where innovation is increasing at a rapid rate. For the UK healthcare industry, in particular, technology is changing how we treat patients, how we diagnose and assess conditions, and how patients can take care of themselves to maintain great health throughout their life.
Below are six innovative ways the digital age has transformed healthcare in the UK.
- Robotic Operations
Robotics is truly the future, and thanks to this incredible technology, it may soon be possible for surgeons to perform life-changing operations from the other side of the world. While the discussion of robots in the workplace may spark worries of humans being replaced, this step forward can only be a good thing for patients worldwide. It will enable surgeons at the top of their game to help those in need no matter where they are.
- Fitness Monitors and Apps
Fitness monitors and apps have been a popular way to keep track of health for a few years now, and while they may have initially been dismissed as a fad, research has shown patients respond positively to using these gadgets. So much so that it could potentially cut medical costs by up to 60%.
- Virtual Doctor’s Visits
Virtual technology has changed the way people visit their GP. By using sensitive two-way cameras, patients can talk to medical staff from the comfort of their own home. What’s more, it’s even possible to make use of health monitors for blood pressure and blood oxygenation to enable the doctor to keep track of specific conditions. Virtual check-ups are particularly valuable for older people who live alone because it means a doctor can regularly check in on them and provide the highest standard of care without having to travel to the surgery.
- Virtual Reality
Virtual reality is proving very effective in the treatment of phobias. A study in the US has shown that people with a fear of spiders were more comfortable with them after being treated with virtual reality. VR has also been used to help with rehabilitation by assisting people in sleeping. Additionally, medical staff are now being trained more effectively by using VR headsets to help them empathise with patients.
- Medicine Identification
In 2016, a regulation was passed called the Falsified Medicines Directive. This directive requires the addition of safety features on medicine packaging to verify its authenticity and prevent tampering. The technology used is a unique identifier in the form of a 2D data matrix barcode. An FMD compliant scanner has to be purchased, and Honeywell scanners are one type you can buy if you manage a pharmacy.
- Patient Tracking
Hospitals can now track patients with technology such as Bluetooth tags. A good example of this in practice is when a patient goes in for an operation they can be equipped with real-time location tracking systems that can be used to inform family members when they are out of surgery. Doctors can also access vital information, such as a patient’s x-rays, using a mobile device at a patient’s bedside.
The above are a very small selection of the ways technology and innovation is revolutionising the healthcare industry. Other improvements include implantable glucose-monitoring systems so patients can access glucose readings using an app on their phone, technology that allows surgeons to see inside a patient’s body using augmented reality glasses, and virtual assistants that will help doctors treat many more patients than currently. One thing is for sure: technology doesn’t stand still, so the world of healthcare is set to continue to transform and change for the better.