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The 5 Top Advances in Telemedicine and Health IT

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Telemedicine is synonymous with remote health care. The idea is that health care providers can work with patients despite the physical distance between them using digital communication. This process goes hand in hand with health information technology (HIT), the electronic systems used to store, manipulate, and share medical data.

As recently as the beginning of 2014, many medical facilities still relied on paper records, which are incredibly inefficient compared to their electronic counterparts. Now, the medical field is advancing quickly when it comes to digital technology. Here are five of the most impressive advances in telemedicine and HIT in the last year.

Wearable Medical Devices

A vast range of wearable medical devices are available for personal and professional use. These devices can measure your heart rate, calories taken in and burned off, glucose levels, ECG, and posture, and they can even offer pain relief through electrotherapy.

More and more of these devices are hitting the market all the time. According to Smithsonian Magazine, wearables and other digital health devices took up 40 percent more space at 2015′s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) compared to 2014.

Smartphones as Diagnostic Tools

Combined with wearable devices or attachable scanners, or sometimes even alone, smartphones are becoming acceptable tools for self-diagnosis. Smartphones can diagnose mental conditions like Alzheimer’s with simple tests. Attaching an enhanced lens to a smartphone’s camera can give it the power to diagnose skin and oral conditions. Scanners attached to smartphones can scan blood samples for malaria, thyroid problems, and more.

Health Informatics

Image via Flickr by danxoneil

According to a government mandate known as the HITECH Act of 2009, medical facilities have to update their HIT systems to comply with government regulations. While many hospitals still lag behind when it comes to meeting government standards for digital health care, they are advancing every day to meet those requirements. As a result, the demand for jobs in health informatics has increased dramatically in the past few years.

Digital Therapy and Advice

One of the biggest advantages of telemedicine is that doctors can more easily communicate with patients without an office visit. Therapists can receive information about their patients when a therapy app records a sample of their speech. Other apps like Wellframe use artificial intelligence to give therapy and advice to the patient without a doctor’s interaction. ThriveOn is a similar app that provides mental health care.

New Apps Save Patients Money and Time

Apps that offer convenience to the patient ultimately save doctors from jumping through hoops as well. These apps can help patients schedule doctor’s appointments, save money on prescriptions, and manage their health insurance. With these tasks out of the way, doctors can focus on providing quality care during the time they interact with their patients.

There is no telling what advancements will be made in health care in the next few years. As medicine advances into the digital age, HIT systems and telemedicine promise to save doctors and patients a lot of work, as well as potentially saving lives.

 

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