Advancements in information and communication technology have impacted numerous domains and the health sector is one such domain. The traditional ways of medical treatment and diagnosis have evolved over the years and information technology solutions have given more added advantages to medical treatment.
The benefits of information technology in healthcare are numerous. Some of the key ways through which information and communication technology have impacted health care are as follows:
1. Efficient Medical consultation:
Easy booking reduces patient waiting time: With technology solutions like phone, mobile app-based, SMS-based, email, and website-based booking systems, the patients can book their medical consultation time slot. This has reduced the patient waiting time, enhanced easy ways of consultation.
Alternative modes of consultation: Patients today have alternative modes of consultation based on their situation. For example, a patient can personally visit the doctor for offline physical consultation or has the option of consulting a doctor online. During pandemics due to restrictions caused by lockdown, social distancing, and unavailability of health facilities, most of the patients preferred online consultation.
With an application like WhatsApp, Google Meet, Zoom, and other video calling platforms doctors were able to view the patient’s condition live. These helped the doctors to analyze the patient situation, and supported with laboratory tests, and patient history many patients were cured of illness. These online consultations helped many elderly and disabled persons to avail themselves of treatment, especially during a pandemic.
Home care consultation: With the help of technological advancements numerous machine-to-machine medical devices have come into existence. These devices provide portability to numerous health care diagnosis equipment and health care systems. For example, today portable X-ray devices, portable ECG machines, Ultrasound scan devices, blood test kits, vital status measurement kits are available. These devices thus can help in testing the patient’s vital status, do basic tests, and provide instant results. These results are in the portable form of images or reports that can be communicated to the doctor for a diagnosis. This has led to home care-based consultation services. Such services are highly efficient for physically disabled persons, elderly patients, and patients with mental illness. Such consultations have also enhanced the overall health care systems.
2. Efficient diagnosis through automated Artificial intelligence-based system:
The efficiency of the diagnosis system has increased over the years and with the integration of information technology tools in the diagnostic system. With machine learning and artificial intelligence applications, more efficient ways of diagnosis have emerged.
Machine learning-based disease prediction: Artificial intelligence tools help in the automation of regular tasks, helps in recognizing key patterns, help in establishing patterns among results and history, and thus can help in predicting the chances of disease. All this information can be used by doctors for an efficient diagnostic decision-making process. For example machine, learning-based breast cancer detection and prediction systems have proven to be a good tool for early diagnosis of breast cancer in females. This system works with large datasets and past information for predicting the new patient condition.
Experts system: These are again artificial intelligence-based systems that help in the early diagnosis of basic diseases. These tools comprise symptoms and signs associated with rules. A patient selects the symptoms and the tools make a diagnosis of the patient condition based on the symptoms rule database. The system then gives further directions to the patient like to consult specialized doctors, diet information, and related health care information. This information can be used by the patient for effective health management. These systems should not be used for self-diagnosis rather should be used for self-assessment and as a basic tool for further actions.
3. Health care management:
Numerous information technology-based software applications have helped health care organizations to maintain patient records, management records, and doctor records efficiently. These tools have enhanced the overall efficiency of the health care management system.
It has become easier for the healthcare system to manage patient bookings, patient appointments, billing, report generations, planning test timings, doctor schedule management, pharmacy inventory, key medical record management, nurse task management, etc.
4. Patient care:
With information technology tools, patient care has been enhanced. Remote patient care, quick response to emergencies, enhanced communication, etc. have enhanced the patient care system.
5. Research and new diagnostic methods
Apart from the above benefits, information technology has enabled more research into the medical domain. This has led to the evolution of new medicines, new diagnostic systems, and new ways of treatment. All these have helped in reducing the levels of disability and death rates caused by illness. These new medical treatments have helped in lowering the treatment costs, have reduced the risks related to diseases like heart attacks, cancer, etc. Many non-curable diseases of early times have become curable due to new advanced research and technology.
6. Increase in Health Awareness
Information technology tools have enhanced communication that has increased awareness and educational information regarding health care systems. These have helped in enhancing the lifestyle and hygiene of the people, reducing numerous communicable diseases. HIV/ AIDS reduction to 75% is a notable fact.
With the advancements in information technology systems, the health care system is also evolving. There is a shift from traditional paper-based diagnostic systems to more advanced AI-based diagnostic systems. Consulting a doctor online, electronic record management, and numerous portable devices have helped in enhancing the overall health care facilities. With visible numerous advantages, many health care organizations across the globe are now moving to digitized health care solutions for enhancing efficiencies of patient care and treatment systems.
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