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Technology Is Reshaping Healthcare

Sandeep Budhiraja, Group Medical Director, Max Healthcare on how technology tools are rapidly getting integrated into every step of the patients’ healthcare journey

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During the Covid pandemic, technology has been a saviour of sorts. The solutions that were provided have transformed the mindset of patients, healthcare professionals and regulators. In fact, the world quickly realised that beyond treating Covid patients at home, there is huge potential in so many other situations. Healthcare is now entering into the patient’s home as the epicentre of care. Remote medical care, delivered outside of the traditional hospital environment, is now more acceptable. It is efficient, empowering, convenient, and accessible.

Patients are welcoming the smart devices that help them control and modify their chronic diseases such as diabetes. Technology is helping them take charge of their health and in prevention of diseases. Rapid home testing kits, continuous glucose monitoring, doctor and nurse on call, ICU at home, dialysis and chemo at home, have enabled a paradigm shift to providing care outside traditional walls of the hospital to virtually anywhere.

Breakthrough Technologies
Other breakthrough technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual medicine, 3D printing, and internet of things are already making inroads into equipment, personal wear devices, enabling telemedicine, immersive training and education, simulation, etc. In fact, technology tools are rapidly getting integrated into each and every step of the patients’ healthcare journey, at home, in clinics and in the hospitals.

Within the hospital, precision of surgeries through robots has improved, further making the surgeries less invasive, with patients going home earlier with faster recovery. Imaging technology is also getting more clinical decision support tools to aid more accurate diagnosis. Predictive analytics is being used to identify risk spots in patients and preempt clinical decisions, significantly improving health outcomes and saving more lives.

Healthcare professionals and society will have to quickly upgrade and align themselves with this rapidly changing future. Educational curriculum will need to adapt rapidly. Hospitals will need to invest heavily into the technology piece. Innovation mindset will be part of our day-to-day thinking. Nurses, doctors, technicians, will be digitally empowered and use technology at each and every step of their workflows.

AI & Medical Big Data
Interest and advances in medical AI applications have surged with the vast amount of digital data available for collection and utilisation. For instance, AI applications’ ability to process this vast amount of medical data and find new associations and information which otherwise would be lost in the mass of medical big data. Or AI applications in medicine that can be used in clinical, diagnostic, rehabilitative, surgical, and predictive practices along with clinical decision-making and disease diagnosis.

Digital technology is also capable of reducing inequalities in healthcare. Decision support tools for patient care and care administration will be data and eventually AI and ML algorithm driven. High quality data will form the foundation of unbiased AI and ML models which are effective in improving accessibility and efficiency of care.

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magazine 18 June 2022 Sandeep Budhiraja