Healthcare will always be an issue people concern themselves with. It’s been a concern for society since people realised there were methods to treat themselves. Today, we are far more sophisticated than ever before, in prevention, cure and treatment. Healthcare, unfortunately, is still dominated more by policy than pills. Nonetheless, policy is still influenced by technology and what we’ve achieved as a society. To that end, it’s worth considering what healthcare will mean in future.
“The term [health care system] usually is used to refer to the system or program by which health care is made available to the population and financed by government, private enterprise, or both.”
Broadly speaking, there are a number of elements within a health care system: Personal health care services focus on individuals and families, located at hospitals, clinics, GP’s private offices and so on; Public health services focus on service delivery for the wider population, meaning everything from water and food supplies to drug and safety regulation; Education related to prevention and treatment of disease; Finally, coverage of these services.
All this indicates how complex the system is which focuses on keeping people alive. Naturally, it is important to consider what goes into these. As should be obvious, technology plays a major role in maintaining all these systems. From doctors being able to record and consult, using the internet and the latest devices, alerting necessary services and issues individual patients might be experiencing – all of this tells us that technology matters within a health care system.
What will the future hold?
As with so much of technology, it’s hard to know precisely what effect something will have on particular systems. Nonetheless, there are some clues as to what awaits us if we consider what people are working on to try help patients around the world.
- Improved sensors with nanotech
As Medical News Today notes:
“Constructing a sensor using nanotechnology to mimic human immune cells that circulate around the body, indicating when something is wrong and responding positively to any problems that surface may be possible one day in the future, but for now, it remains a big step to take.
Instead, [researchers] have chosen to transform conventional medical devices that are implanted into the body by giving them sensors – nanosensors – that can determine a problem and respond to it if and when it arises.”
In this way, there is less pressure on individual doctors to see more patients. People themselves are provided more options to help themselves.
A major issue with a lot of medical care is the price of medical products. One way to help curb this could be with 3D-printing. Due to it being incredibly complex, 3D-printed products can be created to specific requirements, benefitting patients who have various complications. After all, it’s being considered for everything from skin to hearts, in terms of what can be designed. This will aid the healthcare system in terms of reducing costs of production and waste.
By combining smartphones, trackers and a range of devices, patients can use telemedicine. This lets data livestream to specific health centres, negating geography and therefore travel. As Forbes notes:
“Telemedicine may alleviate some of the struggles currently facing the health-care industry. We have an aging population, a shortage of physicians and an increasing need to manage chronic diseases. We also need to keep burgeoning health-care costs in check. Thanks to ‘constant technological innovation, increasing remote patient monitoring and rising use of treatments that require long follow-ups,’ Mordor Intelligence predicts that the global telemedicine market will reach more than $34 billion by 2020.”
- The internet
The internet has transformed the world in ways no one could’ve predicted. While doctors dislike patients self-diagnosing thanks to looking up ailments on Google, it does provide more knowledge. Patients can be informed about their condition more than ever before. This means they can find out if the treatment they receive really is up-to-date and scientifically sound.
The internet allows people to find nearby hospitals, specialists and so on, helping them recover from whatever ailment they happen to suffer from. This reduces the amount of time medical professionals have to spend explaining issues to patients, since patients can now see firsthand and at their own pace what the particular problems of their case (if any) they need to concern themselves with.
The internet has also allowed collaboration, since doctors from all over the world can work together. For example, surgeons can work in collaboration with others from around the world, even operating in different cities on specific operations. The tool of the internet has opened up many opportunities for greater health success.