Technological advances are there to make life easier; that’s their primary aim. We can see the effectiveness of incorporating technology into different aspects of our lives.
We see it in our banking. Thanks to the ATM, you don’t have to queue up at the banking halls to make a withdrawal. We see it in our online shopping too. But what about healthcare?
In 2019, the U.S spent about $10,966 per person on healthcare. That’s shocking already, but it becomes worse when comparing it with the average of $5,697 in OECD countries. And this trend is expected to increase.
Incorporating specific technological devices into some aspects of the healthcare process will reduce costs without sacrificing the quality of healthcare.
That said, there are a few ways technology can help reduce healthcare costs. These include:
- Incorporating wearables into healthcare.
For healthcare practitioners, diagnosis is tricky. They have to ask you specific questions and take certain tests to understand your symptoms before the actual treatment begins.
Those are costs that can be eliminated simply by wearables. Wearables are electronic devices powered by micro-controllers that are worn close to the skin.
They analyze body signals, such as vital signs, and can transmit their information to other devices.
With wearables, your doctor can get a real-time alert whenever your vital signs deviate from normal. That saves everyone the stress (and the cost) of having all those tests done, not to mention the consultation fees.
- Automating repetitive tasks.
The amount of paperwork involved in treating a patient is quite a lot. Even with the advent of electronic health records (EHRs), doctors still spend a lot of time entering patients’ data into forms.
Some health practitioners even have to work overtime to fill up paperwork, and this increases costs. Some apps can help with this.
Doctors can scan test results from a mobile app and input them directly into your EHR. Patients can also book appointments from mobile applications.
That would reduce the amount of time and money spent on paperwork and also minimize burnout of health practitioners.
- Creating a unified database for patient medical information.
The switch to EHRs by healthcare providers is laudable but is still in dire need of improvement.
With different hospitals using EHRs from separate companies, interoperability is almost impossible.
Imagine a patient admitted to a new hospital. Without the EHR from their previous hospital, all the preliminary tests have to be retaken. You can see how this increases costs.
But with a unified database, the EHR of the patientcould just be called up with all the necessary information on display. That would reduce costs drastically.
The Covid-19 pandemic was a catastrophe, but it did teach us one thing. We could do a lot from the comfort of our homes, and that includes medicine.
Telemedicine means accessing and delivering healthcare through mobile devices. These include video and phone calls, remote care, intervention, and in dire cases, first aid.
With these services readily available at home, there would be no need to rush to the hospital for consultation and treatment.
This would reduce costs in many ways, ranging from consultation fees to indirect expenses like transport fare.
- Using technology to monitor inventory.
Technological devices have always been good at keeping track of inventory; that’s the premise of many survival games. Those superior inventory analysis skills are going to be of use in the healthcare sector.
A large number of supplies, drugs, and medical equipment come into hospitals daily.
Technological devices would be better equipped to track shipments, note their accurate stock at any time, and order more. All these could be done with minimal input from healthcare practitioners.
The healthcare sector would benefit tremendously from technological improvements, leading to an increase in quality of care, cutting off excessive bureaucracy, and a decrease in healthcare costs.
You can apply technology in almost every industry. Even small businesses can harness the power of technology to their benefit, using it to streamline costs and boost brand exposure. It would be beneficial for the healthcare sector to do the same.