Technological Advances in Healthcare
Dr Naresh Rati, Executive Partner at Modality Partnership discusses the latest technological developments in delivering patient care
Technological advances continue to offer significant opportunities to improve the care we deliver to patients. The current coronavirus pandemic has accelerated many digital initiatives which otherwise may have taken several years to fully embed. For example, within UK general practice, the shift to a digital first clinical model, means patients are able to access primary care using telephone, video consultations, text and electronic consultations. This offers convenience and better choice for patients alongside traditional face to face consultations. I now talk about moving away from reactive care, to more proactive care and much more interactive care with clinicians and patients able to consult much more readily through digital means.
Remote monitoring empowers patients to take much more control of their own health and to send data to clinicians from the convenience of their own homes. Data such as blood pressure, oxygen levels, weight, sugar levels is currently being sent via smart devices. This means not only a better understanding for patients about their health, but also much more timely and responsive monitoring by the doctors and nurses looking after them.
The use of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare offers scope for further efficiency and consistency of care, freeing up clinical time to spend caring for patients. AI is currently being expanded across a number of areas, including radiology, dermatology with much more to follow.
Whilst technology has the potential to deliver significant savings for healthcare, the pace of implementation varies across different systems. Whilst there are some good examples of mass shifting to digital (such as in NHS general practice) implementing it at scale across other sectors (such as hospitals) has been slower.
There remains significant wider public concerns about data security, confidentiality and storage. However, there is also a willingness by the public to allow their health data to be shared across healthcare institutions if it means better, seamless care. It is important for this balance to be maintained and not used as an excuse to hinder progress.