How Healthcare Might Look In The Future
A lot has changed in our lives since the launch of the internet over twenty years ago. We have evolved into a digital culture where almost everything we need can be found online. Smartphones manage our homes. Whether it’s turning on the heating before we head back from the office, or our fridge freezer noticing we are low on bananas and ordering us some more through Amazon Prime.
The COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic forced even more businesses to move to a digital-only platform. From banking to grocery shopping, we saw a sharp rise in online sales and services. Every aspect of our lives has been entirely reshaped by the technology that we have available.
Healthcare has also been making moves in this area, and the technology available now is opening new possibilities. Now you can use online symptom finders and get all the information you may have had to visit a healthcare professional for. Doctors offer online consultations at a fraction of the price, and we can even order our medications online.
There are lots of technologies that offer digitally enabled methods of therapy for those who suffer from depression. Anxiety disorders are on the rise, so the healthcare industry has started to work with app builders to create meditation, online counselling and much more. A relaxation app called Calm now has over one million paying subscribers. The idea is simple, a selection of soothing and calming sounds to help you with simple techniques. This can improve your sleep, help you find a way through anxiety attacks and build positive affirmation messages.
Access To Healthcare Professionals Via An APP
Currently, moves are being made to give people access to their healthcare professionals via an app. Many private hospitals and healthcare insurance companies across the world offer this service. In 2015 Discovery launched the UK company Vitality Health Care in the United States. This app-based health insurance provides you with online appointments with a medical professional. It also inspires users to get healthy by working with other smart devices to measure users’ activity levels. Members of vitality can lower the cost of their insurance by being more active. You earn points for the amount of exercise you record, which will reduce the amount you pay. There are various levels of membership you can achieve, depending on your personal points. These give you other perks, including free gym memberships and free coffee or tickets to the cinema.
The idea of health insurance partnering up with other companies to offer perks is nothing new, but bringing everything online so you can access it all at the touch of a button is groundbreaking. More and more companies will move forward like this to put you in touch directly with your doctor. This will make appointments more cost-effective and will reduce waiting times. It is also more convenient and will prevent long journeys to medical centres when you don’t feel like leaving your bed. Users of the service say it’s comforting to know there is always someone there; they have seen reduced visits to their medical centres and increased activity as they try to reduce their outgoings.
Digital Appointments and Treatments Online
As well as digital appointments, we can also access treatment online. Your online doctor can prescribe you with medication which you can order through multiple digital pharmacies. If you are concerned about the legitimacy of this service, you can ask a professional healthcare provider to recommend the right one. The service is excellent for the more vulnerable in our communities as you can enter your prescription and order repeat prescriptions to be sent at the correct dates. You can also set reminders, so you get an email when you need to have your medication renewed. If it’s hard for you to get out, or you rely on a caregiver to collect your prescription, this is an excellent solution.
Even our births can be managed online. From techniques used in labour to local support groups offering video calling. This can be reassuring for anyone who is progressing through pregnancy alone. After your child is born, you will be able to access all of your maternity records online. This is an excellent resource as your child grows up. Being able to access their immunisation records and growth charts can help you manage their health and wellbeing throughout their lives.
Technology has been transforming the diagnostic system too. Now we can send high-quality images straight to a specialist which can help with a rapid response and quicker treatment turnaround. Clinical images can be seen instantly all over the world, meaning you can ensure you are getting the best advice from the best doctors. This is particularly useful if you want a second opinion on a tricky medical condition. It’s also great for athletes who may have an injury in another country and need to consult their medical team at home.
Technology is advancing in the world of nutrition too, which will be useful for those with medical conditions, allergies and illnesses like IBS or food intolerances. Currently, wearable technology is used to record your heart rate and monitor your activity, but, the future could include an implantable monitoring device that will analyse your body. This could monitor your gut bacteria and help dieticians understand your DNA, metabolism and create a bespoke diet plan. There are talks about using this same implant to work out genome-customised exercise plans, helping you develop the very best strategies based on your unique genetic makeup.
Looking further into the future, the use of drones could play a more significant part in dealing with emergencies. A drone can offer a faster response time and won’t be affected by traffic or incidents on the roads. It will also be able to access remote areas such as the top of mountains or at sea. With heat-seeking technology, it will become easier and faster to find someone and set out the first stages of emergency care.
We know that the future is going to stay online and that the incredible advancements in technology will help keep us safer and healthier for longer. It won’t replace the medical professionals that we have today but will work alongside them to deliver the very best care available. But this is how Healthcare might look in the Future.
Isn’t it amazing how Healthcare might look in the future? What are you thoughts about this transitional life change? Drop me a line as always.