How are new technologies influencing healthcare?

 

These inventions and new strategies are changing the way we perceive treatment

How are new technologies influencing healthcare?

In a world currently focused on patient care and Universal Health Coverage, new technologies have entered the public policy landscape with the intention of changing the way we perceive treatment. The future of health can no longer be separated from new technologies.

Telemedicine

Telemedicine, born in the United States in the late 1950s as a platform for transmitting neurological examinations from remote areas, became popular in the field of radiology where the transmission of medical images and telephone consultations has led to the creation of specialized companies around the world. In fact, for some years now, telemedicine has come to stay in countries like Colombia, where in addition to offering immediate diagnoses, e-learning trainings in medicine and consultations in different specializations are also promoted in the public and the private sector.

Telemedicine has proven to be such a useful tool in the field of Health that the Colombian government has also bet on this tool through the Plan Fronteras para la Prosperidad. In fact, since 2016, the Foreign Ministry has begun the execution of 47 telemedicine points through 23 agreements signed with hospitals in border areas around the country.

Mobile-Health

However, computerized platforms and videoconferencing are technologies that are already being complemented by new, more specialized structures focused on personalized services for users. Taking into account the high number of people who now own and use mobile phones, large healthcare providers have begun to develop specialized applications that allow them to have a closer relationship with patients and promote prevention and healthy lifestyles.

For instance, in the Dominican Republic, diagnostic centers such as the Laboratorio Referencia have apps for mobile phones that facilitate the connection between patients and the company's branches, improving at the same time the care received and promoting early diagnosis. In the same way, companies such as Z-check in Barcelona have decided to bet on the management of patients in hospital environments, improving the service offered by the centers and the treating doctors.

Amazon and Uber are also interested in Health

The use of new technologies in the area of health is not only related to traditional health providers since large companies such as Amazon and Uber have begun to venture into this field.

In 2017, the well-known transport app Uber decided to launch UberHealth in the United States: a version of its platform dedicated to entering the health market. Among the initiatives developed last year, there was the agreement with Apollo Hospitals to perform diabetes or thyroid tests at home during the celebration of World Health Day. However, the most successful initiative of the company has been the flu vaccination campaign (which has been going on for several years now), during which nurses accompany the drivers and immunize patients who have requested the service.

For its part, Amazon has started since 2017 to venture into the health sector through selling medical products. As the Wall Street Journal reported this past February 14th, Amazon seeks to become one of the largest suppliers of medical products for operating rooms and treatment centers. Perhaps more relevant important was the announcement done by the end of January 2018 of Amazon, JP Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway partnership to offer a joint service to reduce health costs and offer technological solutions to its beneficiaries.

 

Latin American Post | Laura Delgado

Copy edited by Laura Rocha Rueda
 

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