The insane amount of technological innovation we’ve experienced in the past few decades is so ingrained in our daily lives that we tend to take it for granted. We perform technological feats that would have been inconceivable even twenty years ago, on devices that fit in the palm of your hand. High-tech equipment, from computer chips to smart phones, has impacted nearly all facets of our existence, so it would make sense that something as important as our health care system would be technologically on par with the rest of society, right? Wrong. The medical field has been notoriously slow at catching on to the digitalization trend of recent years. This is problematic because with a streamlined, universal, digitized system, potentially fatal clerical errors could be reduced to virtually nothing.
Electronic Health Records: Pros and Cons
While computer tech in the health field has been lagging, there is hope: both the Bush and the Obama administrations have pushed for the digitization of medical records, and hospitals across the nation have been slowly enacting pilot programs. The digitization movement has faced several roadblocks, however. Critics argue that implementation is too costly to be realistic, and, worse, could cost lives if there are any problems with the software. There are privacy concerns as well; some argue that digital records would be too easy to hack, leaving patients’ information vulnerable. While these concerns are absolutely valid and must be addressed, the unavoidable truth is that our whole society is going digital, from music to books to banking, and the health care industry will eventually have to do it too. The process will be slow if we want to do it right, but it will ultimately be worth it.
Social Media Apps & Telehealth Make Monitoring From Home Easier
Of course, digitization is only one part of medical technology. Other, smaller examples of how technology can help improve our health abound. For example, online exercise and calorie trackers can provide the incentive and structure people need to stay on track with a healthy lifestyle. People with illnesses that require constant monitoring and treatment have also hugely benefited from recent technological advances. The ability to do advanced readings, like blood pressure and oxygen levels, from home means much more freedom for people suffering from these diseases. This technology has led to experimentation in “telehealth,” where patients do their own medical readings at home and send them to their doctor online. If there are any red flags, the doctor will alert the patient and get them the appropriate medical care right away. If everything looks good, the patient can go on living their life in the comfort and freedom of their own home.
Health Care Technology as a Career Path
If you’re passionate about helping herald in the new era of technology in medicine, consider a career in health care. More than a quarter of all new jobs created through 2018 will be in the medical field, meaning that health care institutions will be on the lookout for passionate, tech savvy candidates like you. There are a variety of job options, including medical assisting, which requires minimal training and has excellent prospects. Colleges that offer a medical assistant training program will train you in the latest medical technology and hopefully have you in a job in less than a couple of years.
Terry Johnston freelance writes on subjects related to medical technology. Terry has also covered topics related to medical colleges and student programs such as medical assisting and medical billing and coding.