The advancements taking place within the medical science and technology world is undoubtedly changing the nature of healthcare, from telemedicine, to artificial intelligence, to online diagnoses. Furthermore, these advancements have introduced more opportunities for patients in rural or underserved communities to have better access to their healthcare provider, as well as more solutions for health concerns such as blurred vision, trouble sleeping, and even diet tracking and monitoring. With the help of these valuable tools, healthcare can continue growing and providing more opportunities for people across the nation.
Out With the Old
Today, along with all the new tools and resources, standard healthcare procedures are getting a makeover as well. Laser eye surgery, also known as LASIK, is a great example of this medical development. LASIK is a minor surgery that helps correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism and can now be performed completely blade-free with higher rates of success. Medical professionals are able to utilize ultraviolet lasers to treat their patients’ vision issues.
The experts at KE Eye Centers further explain, saying, “over the decades, the excimer laser has greatly increased the safety, efficacy and predictability of LASIK surgery. Today’s excimer lasers are far more sophisticated and precise than previous generations, allowing for more and more people to be able to enjoy life after LASIK.” Cutting down on the overall costs and time spent getting contacts, glasses, and attending eye appointments are some long-lasting benefits of LASIK, which is why it appeals to so many patients, especially those living in rural areas who aren’t able to make regular visits to their optometrist.
Another transformation occuring within the healthcare world is the process of testing and treating STDs. STDs, also referred to as STIs, are not uncommon in the U.S. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur every year, accounting for almost $16 billion in healthcare costs annually.” With those numbers in mind, testing for STDs is extremely important to the public’s health, and as such, many professionals in the healthcare industry have been working to implement more accessible ways for people to get tested. Many companies, such as STD Labs, are now providing a digital option to input symptoms and other important information.
Considering most members of the population have and use smart devices, getting tested is easier than ever before. After inputting symptoms, patients will be connected with a doctor who can give further suggestions, including prescriptions. By providing more convenient (and discreet) access, people are more likely to get tested and thus treated, which contributes to an overall healthier population.
Telemedicine: The Helpful Sidekick
In addition to advancements in procedures and diagnoses, artificial intelligence has also been improving the realm of healthcare, particularly in the form of telemedicine. Telemedicine provides numerous benefits to both doctors and patients by allowing users to track, regulate, and report all their health concerns. As Arizona State University reports, “the healthcare industry as a whole is undergoing seismic changes and technology is a key driver. Today, more than ever, Americans have the power to prevent disease by making healthy lifestyle choices.”
Telemedicine generally employs apps, wearable trackers, and smart devices as well as the AI found within these tools to monitor patients and help regulate some of their health issues. Furthermore, with telemedicine, patients can still stay in communication with their doctor without having to make the journey to an office — which, once again, is really beneficial to those living in rural communities or have a disability preventing them from driving.
The sleep technology available these days is a great example of AI lending a helping hand to common health concerns. Given the amount of apps to choose from these days, sleep technology has evolved from simply setting an alarm to now being able to track a patient’s sleep patterns, snoring habits, and even help them fall asleep faster. It’s well known that quality sleep, or lack thereof, can often affect an individual’s overall health. With these important advancements in AI and a wide range of sleep apps to choose from, patients can get some much needed assistance tackling their sleep concerns. By having access to these sleeping apps (and many, many more), patients can take better control of their overall lifestyle and make those important, healthy choices.
As medical technology continues to be revolutionized, we have a lot to look forward to in regards to the future of our healthcare. Fundamental procedures, big and small, have benefited greatly from tech advancements, becoming easier, faster, and more efficient. Furthermore, more individuals are now able to connect with a medical professional that otherwise might not be readily available to them given their location or current condition. Even everyday health concerns, such as weight loss, have really evolved thanks to the technology entering the market. With all of that in mind, it’ll certainly be interesting (and exciting) to see how medical technology further advances in the coming decades.