Thanks to advances in digital technology and information sharing, the healthcare industry is continuously improving. Patients have gained access to remote consultations with specialists, a wider variety of pharmaceutical suppliers, targeted treatments, specialized mobile applications, and more. For doctors, the internet has meant more collaborative tools, newer diagnostic technologies, more accurate data, and many other benefits such as:
Remote Access to Doctors and Care
The internet lets doctors and patients connect from anywhere in the world. Speaking to an online doctor eliminates issues with distance, access difficulty for patients with impaired mobility, and can drastically reduce a doctor’s response time in the event of an emergency.
Patients can also receive advanced medical care with the assistance of applications and devices connected to the internet. A patient’s medical data can be recorded, stored, and then forwarded to relevant medical professionals for analysis during asynchronous consultations.
Medical professionals can also use the internet to monitor their patients remotely. People who suffer from chronic conditions can enjoy life in their own homes without the need for a doctor’s continuous presence.
Electronic Medical Records
The increasing use of electronic medical records has been found to have a positive effect on patient care. Digital summaries of patient health can be shared between online doctors instantly across any distance with the help of the internet. The transmitted information can include lab reports, diagnoses, test analyses, details on hospital visits, reports on surgical procedures, and prescriptions. These digital records offer a complete overview of a patient’s health, which leads to faster, more accurate diagnoses and general improvements in care.
Sharing medical resources and data across physical media is time-consuming and inefficient. The speed of online data transmission means that in the event of an emergency, a doctor can receive everything relevant they need to know about their patient without delay. This data must be shared instantly if the patient is unable to communicate their own needs, for instance, if the patient has fallen unconscious.
With the proper care, maintenance, and implementation, digital health records also help prevent malpractice. Since electronic documents are easier to create, maintain, and duplicate when necessary, there is a much lower chance for data corruption due to human error.
The internet has also brought technological benefits directly into the hands of patients. Mobile applications in the form of planners and reminders help patients remember their appointments and take their medications. General health and fitness apps help people suffering from food-related conditions keep track of their eating and activity levels to help discover problem foods.
The same planning applications help doctors and other medical staff reduce the time spent on routine tasks. Certain apps provide easy access to drug information – immediately highlighting potential side effects, unwanted interactions with other drugs, and helping to improve diagnoses. Doctors can also use apps to communicate with their patients, leave them important messages and updates, take records of their patients’ vital signs, and to generally work more efficiently.
Big Data and Cloud Storage
As healthcare professionals are capable of gathering vast quantities of data over the internet, new methods have evolved to analyze and process this information. All of the accumulated data allows for more accurate predictions when dealing with epidemics, and helps save people’s lives.
Storing data in the cloud increases efficiency and accessibility while decreasing waste. By making the data accessible, it becomes easier to research and develop new treatments and pharmaceutical formulations. All medical research benefits from cloud-based services – these secure and cost-efficient storage methods are the best way for medical professionals to exchange health information. There are plenty of backup and recovery features that prevent this data from becoming lost or corrupted, and all of these benefits are made possible without the need for expensive server hardware.
Improvements to Patient Care
Thanks to the Internet and various technological developments, many tools are now available to the healthcare industry to improve patient care. Online doctors have easy access to their patients’ medical histories allowing for well-considered diagnoses made quickly. With digital receipts for all prescriptions, it has become a simple matter for doctors to keep track of and prevent possible medication errors.
The internet can be used alongside radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to provide real-time data on patients’ vital signs. Patients’ whereabouts can be monitored, and if they fall into trouble, help can be sent directly without delay. Designs for personalized prosthetic limbs, hearing aids, and dental devices can be created in one location and then transmitted to a manufacturer for production.
More complex applications are being designed and shared online. Virtual reality experiences can help patients dealing with mental illness receive customized therapeutic sessions. Augmented reality allows surgeons to receive relevant information in the middle of an operation and use it to assist with complex surgery. All of these benefits and many others are only made possible by connecting people across the world together through the internet.