There has been a slow but steady revolution taking place in health care in the United States. Over the past ten years, there have been drastic changes in health care, and many technological advances have been made. The US government has played an enormous role in this healthcare renaissance by implementing incentivized programs to encourage healthcare professionals to utilize technology as a tool to improve the quality of care.
During the Obama Administration under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), healthcare professionals received considerable incentives to implement high-speed health information technology tools in their practices. During this same time, hospitals were incentivized to implement health IT tools to complement primary care doctor’s IT solutions.
Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and Chronic Care Management (CCM)
PCMH is a model designed to provide high-quality care across the spectrum of healthcare and is dependent on strong relationships between hospitals, primary care physicians, family members, home health nurses, and their ability to leverage faster health IT tools. US healthcare, which focused on health IT tools, has now transitioned to the interoperability of these tools. Interoperability describes the ability of healthcare technology tools to share accurate and fast data.
HIPAA compliant secure messaging is being leveraged by inpatient (hospital), the patient, and primary care physicians. Secure messaging is the way patient data is shared with hospitals to ensure coordination of care, and ultimately improves the quality of care and saves patient lives.
When a patient is admitted to the emergency room, the patient’s primary care physician (PCP) is notified, in real-time, by the emergency room doctors, this encourages collaboration and keeps the PCP in the loop for proper followup. Using the best ambulatory surgery center software for hospitals helps to increase efficiency and improve the quality of care given by medical professionals.
Chronic Care Management(CCM)
Medical groups and hospitals with a large population of patients with chronic disease can take advantage of the various high-speed technology available to monitor patients in real-time. Patients diagnosed with:
- Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia
- Arthritis (osteoarthritis and rheumatoid)
- Atrial fibrillation
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
- Infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS
- Chronic Kidney Disease
Patients diagnosed as chronically ill need to be monitored 24 hours, as this can often be the difference between life and death. Hospitals can monitor these patients via biomarker wearables that send real-time alerts if the patient’s vitals are in the danger zone. CCM provides patients needed support between hospital visits with various engagement activities, managing fall risk, and medication adherence. Medication adherence is improved with smart bottles that are integrated via wireless technology that sends signals from the bottle to PCP, hospital, and caregiver.
Fall risk management is achieved by sensors integrated into the insoles of shoes and placed in the shoes of the patients at risk of falling. The sensor in the shoes measures acceleration and pressure, which is monitored in real-time and transmitted via Bluetooth the patient’s smartphone and transmitted to the hospital’s EHR to alert physicians. Accidental falls account for 646,000 deaths globally for patients over 65 years old.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence, which includes machine and deep learning, is being utilized by healthcare professionals to analyze siloed healthcare data to uncover hidden value to improve the quality of life. Deep learning algorithms are made of complex layers of neurological networks that are designed to mimic the complexity of the human brain. Like the human brain, deep learning algorithms can be taught to identify and diagnose medical conditions based on image data. Hospitals and diagnostic centers are using deep learning artificial intelligence technology to identify and diagnose diseases by analyzing imaging data. AI is making evidence-based medicine a reality. Hospitals are able to identify and diagnose many conditions that would have been missed in previous years.
Technology in healthcare continues to accelerate the pace at which we can deliver high-quality care. As technology improves, so does the ability of healthcare professionals to administer the highest standard of healthcare and continue saving lives and money, with the promise of cutting edge technology like virtual reality and 5G networks, this trend will continue.