A lot happened in 2020, and we believe we speak for everyone when we say we are welcoming in a new and exciting year. Although 2020 certainly had some obstacles, it offered our society an opportunity to learn from some of our weaknesses and shortcomings.
Outdated Healthcare Systems
Technology is already highly advanced, giving us modern conveniences in every dimension of our daily lives. While these technological innovations improved countless parts of our lives, there are always people who resist change.
It isn’t easy to find healthcare facilities running completely via traditional paper filing systems, but many locations are not using technology to their advantage. While the traditional approach works, it has several flaws. Physical files were vulnerable to theft, misplacement, and damage. The system heavily restricted people from moving locations or receiving medical care without being physically present.
These problems were unavoidable for so long that many argued why we should “risk” changing systems over.
Despite what many people realize is that this shift already started a while ago behind the scenes. Most modern systems are digitalized in some manner to encourage organization. Safety measurements implemented into these systems prevent hackers from easily hacking personal data. Although digital filing systems are vulnerable to hackers, in many ways, encrypted servers keep data safer than traditional physical copies stored under lock and key. Chances are, digital files aren’t lost in fires or misplaced easily as their predecessors were.
Bringing the patient into the picture, how could digital platforms change their healthcare experience more directly? Some question how well virtual doctor’s visits would go. In terms of effectiveness, several studies investigating how well telemedicine sessions found promising results.
When it comes to minor injuries or inflictions, telemedicine is clinically effective. There is often no reason for you to go all the way to the doctor just to receive a prescription or basic medical advice.
It’s not like telemedicine is out to replace hospitals or clinics. Telemedicine is a tool to reinvent medical care.
Imagine all the time and money both patients and practitioners could save by not forcing the traditional ritual of a trip to the local clinic.
It also saves pain or risk on the patient’s part from unnecessarily traveling. Anyone with a herniated disc or lower back pain hates having to sit in the car for several hours. Even if you aren’t under intense financial or physical strain, there are many perks for widespread telemedicine. We live in a modern world that sometimes fails to take advantage of opportunities out of fear to something new.
When the pandemic hit, it pushed healthcare facilities to the limit. Society needed telemedicine more than ever, and unfortunately, the infrastructure was not in place. The event shed light on so many weaknesses within our existing healthcare system. Although it was a struggle, experts rallied together to rise up to the challenge when the nation needed them most.
We learned a little bit about using technology to our advantage and trends we may expect from the future.
Taking Advantage of Technology
The technology to innovate healthcare was there for years. Smartphones alone carry enough technology to take advantage of telemedicine systems. They have access to the internet, complex communication devices, and the ability to livestream video in decent quality.
Healthcare can’t simply wake up and decide to use these devices one day, though. It’s a process that requires a lot of security and legal preparation. Handling these technicalities properly is the key to really taking advantage of technology.
One of the biggest things to tackle is the issue of trust. Any sort of healthy relationship is built on mutual respect and trust, whether it’s between two friends or a patient and their chiropractor. A big foundation for fear people have with going digital is that they don’t understand it, and no one is willing to clarify details. Without a general explanation, people take it upon themselves (or the internet) to research independently. These practices give birth to misinformation and fear.
Being open about everything, in the beginning, is crucial for a swift transition. Telemedicine is a useful platform, but one that involves sharing a lot of sensitive information. Transparency is an essential component for earning trust in patients to go forward with the incorporation of technological advancements.
What to Expect in the Future
Telemedicine was around for years, but the recent pandemic really forced it to go mainstream. When the virus eventually fades, will everything simply go back to normal?
Many experts speculate that this is the “new normal.” Switching over to these modern systems on such a large scale taught us one important lesson. Telemedicine works!
Now that the pandemic forced the infrastructure to manifest, telemedicine is here to stay. Making the leap into further digitalized systems was just a “foot in the door.” Many healthcare facilities, from your local pain clinic to large pharmacies, adopted some new telemedicine systems. Now it is time to “perfect” them.
Just like all other technologies, we can speculate that future efforts will prioritize enhancing these systems. The sky is the limit when it comes to which features software engineers develop. What we do know is that you should expect telemedicine to play a bigger role in healthcare in the future.
Midtown Medical is launching a new podcast series called Midtown Medical Talks. To connect with our audience at home, during these uncertain times. Midtown Medical Talks is a personal injury medical and law informational podcast channel that offers next-level entertainment and business news to its listeners. Hosted by our Midtown Medical team, we are now streaming on all major listening platforms.
To listen, visit https://midtownmedicaltalks.com/ for more information.