Ever since we've been introduced to the internet in the late 20th century, the world as we knew it gradually started to change. Soon enough, technology became an integral part of our lives. Cell phones made it into the pocket of every passerby on the streets, the workplace transformed in so many ways, and industries in their entirety revolutionized after adopting ever-evolving technologies.
During all of these changes, the Healthcare sector seemed unfazed for the most part; after all, it's always been the most complicated industry throughout mankind's history. However, later rather than sooner, technology was finally able to make it through this formidable fortress, and here we are reaping the rewards.
As of today, the impact of technology in the healthcare industry shines bright across the globe, so let's take a glimpse at some of the most significant impacts we've come to witness as a result.
The Healthcare Scene Has Finally Adopted Digital Marketing
Seeing the impact that adopting digital marketing has brought to businesses of all sizes and fields never gets old; it's a transformation that utilizes digital means to bridge the gap between businesses and their target customers. It may have taken a while for physicians to get on board, but digital marketing seems to be the next big trend in the world of healthcare. As a result, you can witness various changes in both the way physicians operate as well as the execution of medical digital marketing. For instance, Lauryn Preston from Digital Logic says that the best SEO companies care more about retaining their clients than chasing new leads. For someone just getting started, this may sound like a counterproductive approach, but it makes sense to strive towards such a goal.
The Internet Has Transformed Physician-Patient Relationships
The way physicians and patients interact have been shaken to the core as well. Before, a patient would book an appointment in advance, most of the time waiting in line for hours until it's their turn to see the doctor. Thanks to technology, this scenario is now being replaced with pre-booked appointments on mobile apps, remote follow-up post appointments and surgeries, and accurate documentation of medicines taken. What's even more astounding is that physicians can contact and communicate with their patients even before their set appointments, which allows the patients to be well-prepared before their visit, cutting the number of visits to only what's absolutely necessary.
Enhanced Access to Mobile Healthcare and Telemedicine
Mobile healthcare goes beyond the patient's ability to pre-book an appointment through mobile apps to cover the physicians' needs as well. Thanks to the advancement of mobile technology, physicians can share their reports and scans across different departments, even different facilities, almost immediately. You can only imagine the infinite number of appointments and visits that, thanks to mobile healthcare, are now eliminated. Moreover, telemedicine cuts down this number of visits even more. It's not uncommon now for patients and physicians to conduct their appointment through mobile communications, usually video calls. Telemonitoring devices also make it possible for physicians to view real-time data conveyed from their patients' devices, enabling them to make better treatment courses.
The Introduction of Electronic Health Records
If you asked any of the experts about the biggest impact technology has left in the healthcare sector, they'll most certainly talk about Electronic Health Records (EHR). EHR is a system that logs on the patients' health information, making it accessible to the patients, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and all necessary healthcare practitioners. By doing so, the quality of care a patient gets becomes multiplied, more focused, and much more accurate.
Increased Public Health Awareness and Resources: The Patient as a Decision-Maker
Thanks to the availability and accessibility of information, medical terms, and knowledge are no longer limited to physicians. With a quick internet search, a patient or their family can get detailed descriptions of their condition and all related information. Surely enough, such accessibility results in a few drawbacks in addition to its benefits. For starters, many started to believe that they don't need the consultation of a doctor to treat themselves. Moreover, when the patient believes they know everything about their condition or if they've come across information contradicting what their physician of choice recommends, they'll be biased towards their own resources, failing to see the bigger picture or trust the expertise of a medical veteran.
While these drawbacks are troublesome, they can be smartly overcome through a simple approach: engage the patient in the decision-making process. With such a critical role, physicians have started to realize that today's patient no longer plays a passive role; on the contrary, they're actively seeking ways to contribute to the healthcare system. This has also changed the way that physicians operate, and they've started to shift their perspectives to view the patient as a vital piece in the decision-making process.
The Manufacture of Advanced Medical Wearables and Devices
Nowadays, there is equipment to measure and monitor different chronic conditions, all while giving the patients' advice, recommendations, and alerts whenever a certain action needs to be taken. Such a role was previously entrusted to physicians, but now smart wearables and devices are taking over. With the number of medical equipment in the market today, one sometimes wonders if the healthcare system won't undergo complete restructure. However, it's not a matter of "if"; it's certainly only a matter of time until this happens.
The Role of Data Analytics
We've witnessed a brief glimpse of the power of data analytics when applied to the healthcare industry when EHRs were introduced the first time. However, the true power of data analytics far surpasses the impact of EHRs. It's not an exaggeration to say that, if adopted fully, data analytics would make it possible to predict future trends, occasions, and outcomes throughout all of the healthcare industry, making it one of the strongest, and scariest, weapons.
The healthcare industry has always been one formidable fortress that rarely allows structural changes. Although it's been resisting technology for too long, we can finally see how technology has won and started taking the industry by storm. This impact can be seen after adopting digital marketing strategies to transform physician-patient relationships, introducing Electronic Health Records, involving the patient in decision making, manufacturing wearables, and implementing data analytics.
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Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist