The advancement of technology is rapidly transforming every segment of society. That pace has accelerated in recent years, including the field of medicine. Recently, in a study commissioned by Dell Computers, a panel of experts were asked to name what they believe have been the most significant technological game-changers for medicine in recent years. Here are some of their top picks:
Internet as Source of Medical Information for Public
Consider a 2004 Pew survey which found that eight million senior citizens said they sought health care information when using a search engine. The same survey in 2009 showed that 24 million seniors had reported looking for healthcare information. AARP now says it is at least twice that 24 million as of 2020.
The bottom line is that senior citizens, and all demographic age groups, are many times more informed about basic medical information today than at any other time in history. The significance of this cannot be underestimated.
Superior Treatments Reducing Suffering
The development of high-tech devices and processes to treat diseases. An excellent example is the recent leap forward in genomic sequencing of DNA molecules taken from diseased cancer cells. This allows oncologists to get extremely precise information about how cancer is progressing in each individual patient. That, in turn, allows for customized treatments for cancer that are unique to each patient. Furthermore, researchers are using AI and machine learning to make genomic sequencing even more powerful.
Also, consider that the recent vaccine developed for COVID-19 was achieved in just months. Superior technology reduced the time to develop the vaccine by a factor of years.
Software and App Efficiencies for Patient Care Record Keeping
One of our medical system’s biggest problems for decades has been an ever-increasing burden of bureaucratic complexity. Clinics, doctors, insurance companies and individual patients are getting buried under mountains of paperwork and agonizing amounts of red tape. This means doctors have less time to treat patients as they deal with paperwork.
This problem is now being greatly alleviated by software applications that streamline medical record-keeping, billing, follow up and more. The result is bringing down costs and making health care more widely available. That means more people get the help they need sooner. This saves more lives and relieves suffering for more patients faster.