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Over the past ten years, health care in America has seen some significant changes and new innovations. Most of these improvements to health care have been as a result of advances in digital technology; innovations which have led to better patient care, more research and knowledge, and the ability to remotely monitor patients and keep in contact via the internet. Thanks to the changes in health care, patients of all ages and conditions are experiencing a better quality of life and have more freedom to take control of their own care options. Patients from poorer areas with little health care options are also receiving improved initial and ongoing care.

Better Research

Thanks to improvements in digital technology, we now have machines and software available which are able to aid with extensive research into conditions and health problems. This leads to more accurate diagnosis, better prescribing of medication, and increases a patient’s chance of recovery. Thanks to the better research options available to medical professionals, it is now easier to spot the early symptoms of many diseases, treating them before they worsen and intensify.

Better Communication

Advancements and innovations in digital technology have provided health care providers and patients alike with better means of communication. The internet is huge when it comes to health care; it’s now possible for patients to use it to get real-time advice from online pharmacists, nurses and even doctors who are able to advise them on what to do next.

Although it is still not possible to get an official diagnosis online, the health professionals available can advise patients on possible over the counter medication, self-care and whether or not they should make a doctor’s appointment. Subsequently, this saves patients both time and money. Telemedicine also gives health care professionals better communication between each other. Using telemedicine, an inexperienced doctor can immediately contact a trusted expert for help with a diagnosis or procedure, resulting in less patient transfers and a better quality of care.

Home Care

Ten years ago, a visit to the hospital often meant a lengthy stay and high medical bills as a result. Thanks to digital technology, health care professionals can now look after many of their patients remotely which has resulted in a higher turnover of hospital beds and a majority of patients recovering in the comfort of their own home.
Wearable technology combined with remote monitoring systems allows doctors and nurses to monitor their patients’ vital signs from anywhere in the world, and certified EMR systems like RevenueXL allow for health care professionals to quickly access patient records. Prescription medication can also be ordered from and delivered to a patient home, minimizing the need for patients to travel out to a pharmacy and increasing their home recovery time. Thanks to digital technology, more care is given on an outpatient basis, and even patients recovering from major surgery are able to receive a large portion of their care from home.

Mental Health Care Improvements

One of the biggest areas of care which has seen improvements over the last ten years thanks to digital technology is mental health. Ten years ago, research into mental health conditions was nowhere near the level that it is today, and many conditions would go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Today, more and more health professionals are available to help those with mental health conditions and there is extensive research into the different illnesses and how to treat them. Mental health patients also have a much wider range of options available to them, with much care being given on an outpatient basis. A stay in the psychiatric ward today is very much a last resort, with more home visits and even online counselling available.

New Mothers

Giving birth today is much more comfortable and even enjoyable for women than it was ten years ago. There are more methods of pain relief available to women today, allowing them to experience the birthing process safely and with as little pain as possible. Labor, Delivery, Recovery and Postpartum (LDRP) rooms are standard on most maternity wards, allowing women to have one home-like room to stay in during all stages of birth. These rooms include fetal monitoring systems which can be accessed remotely by health care professionals and all the equipment needed for infant care once the baby is born. Many LDRP rooms also include a birthing tub, giving more women the chance to opt for a water birth. New mums can expect a much shorter stay in hospital today, with a majority of the care given at home.

How have changes to health care affected you in the past ten years? Let us know in the comments.

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