Few people can truly say their day-to-day job is a matter of life and death – unless you work in healthcare. So, while a new app or piece of software can be a blessing in any workplace, for our healthcare professionals, top-line tech can literally save lives.
Here are some of the recent developments that are helping to improve one of humankind’s most important industries.
It’s a sad fact of life that often the people who are in the most desperate need of medical attention – such as those affected by natural disasters, or simply living in remote areas – are the hardest to get to.
Thankfully, the medical community is embracing drone technology to bring life-saving supplies to those who need them most.
Unmanned aerial vehicles are an affordable way to drop off drugs, equipment and even blood in a matter of hours to people who would otherwise be days away from receiving treatment.
It may go against virtually every sci-fi movie’s message, but we are increasingly entrusting our lives to the capable hands of robots.
Robotic surgery is one of the fastest-growing fields in medical science, due to how non-invasive the procedures are compared to more traditional methods.
By using miniaturised instruments mounted on robotic arms, which are controlled by a trained surgeon, robotic surgery can perform internal procedures through incisions of around just seven millimetres.
As one surgeon from NYU Langone puts it: “It’s as if I’ve miniaturised my body and gone inside the patient.”
The less-invasive procedures also mean patients spend less time in recovery, helping to free up precious beds.
Saving lives? There’s an app for that!
There are thousands of drugs available in the world, with a countless number being tested and released into the market every year.
And while it’s generally easy to know what one drug does in isolation, people are often being treated with a multitude of medicines.
So, do all these different drugs still work when applied in union? Are some rendered ineffective? Or worse, do they end up having life-threatening consequences?
These days, apps allow medical professionals to quickly check what effect the various drugs may have on their patient when used together.
Journals in your pocket
With medicine always advancing, a medical professional’s education doesn’t finish until the day they retire.
But with the latest edition of Gray’s Anatomy – one of many, many books doctors will have in their library – containing over 1500 pages, simply referring to one’s books and journals isn’t exactly simple.
Well, wasn’t exactly simple.
Medical journals are increasingly moving into app form, allowing doctors to quickly refer to their phone should they be stumped by a patient’s symptoms.
What’s more, plenty of these apps are also live communities, allowing medical professionals to consult with their contemporaries all over the world – and even upload photos.
Electronic medical records
Just as paperless offices are becoming the norm, so too are electronic medical records (EMRs) taking over the world’s surgeries and hospitals.
Particularly now that these records can be uploaded to the cloud, a doctor can access their patient’s medical history and gain a far better understanding of their issues in a matter of moments – and from anywhere in the world.
More than just a convenience for medical professionals, this will also aid patients by reducing errors, improving efficiency and helping to reduce ‘doctor shopping’.
While there will always be medical conditions that require a face-to-face meeting, there are also plenty of occasions where a visit to the doctor really could be managed by utilising the camera on our smartphones.
Again, this could change lives in remote areas, where a doctor is hours of travel away, but it will also make things more efficient in cities.
No longer would patients need to take hours out of their day to travel to and from a consultation and spend 15 minutes in the waiting room before seeing the doctor. The doctor could simply call you when they’re ready, making the entire process streamlined and efficient.