Healthcare Technology Featured Article

June 13, 2019

Key Ways Health Problems Are Diagnosed




The root cause of the signs and symptoms that a patient experiences can now be identified by modern science through advanced technology, paving the way for new treatment modalities and cures. Laboratory testing and imaging studies are more innovative, targeted, faster, and more efficient as compared to traditional testing methods in the past.

Today, patients can book laboratory tests online, collect samples at home, benefit from digitized records and improved turnaround time, among other other emerging trends in medical diagnosis. Continue reading below to learn more about the different ways medical problems are diagnosed nowadays.

Telemedicine

In the past, you have to visit your doctor’s clinic to get physically assessed and wait patiently outside the lab to undergo a blood test. Telemedicine is a technological advancement that changes the healthcare infrastructure, wherein patients and doctors can set an appointment and meet online through software. Telemedicine incorporates AI diagnosis, electronic medical record or EMR, and billing solution at a faster rate than traditional brick-and-mortar medical facilities.

Today, various testing options are available, and many laboratories are extending services via the online platform. The convenience of telemedicine has saved a lot of people from being absent or taking leaves from work. The samples are collected at your most convenient schedule, saving you precious time from waiting for an attending physician or taking your turn in the laboratory.  The online convenience of laboratory services has emerged because many patients need regular laboratory tests, like those with diabetes.

Here’s how it works:

  • You can register or create an account and then log in on the site.
  • Schedule a time for a home visit (phlebotomist).
  • The blood sample or specimen required will be drawn or obtained within the comfort of your home. After which, the report will be delivered online through email. A doctor’s appointment can be set through a telemedicine software or website for further examination or diagnosis.

Basic Laboratory Workup 

When a doctor suspects a health problem, a basic laboratory workup is ordered to help confirm a diagnosis. These laboratory studies include complete blood count or CBC, Prothrombin time, basic metabolic panel, lipid panel, liver panel, hemoglobin A1C, urinalysis, and cultures.

Here are the details of the most common laboratory tests:

  • Complete Blood Count: It measures the numbers and types of cells in the blood, including white blood cells (WBC), red blood cells (RBC), and platelets, evaluating nutritional status and screening disorders. These tests assess symptoms like weakness, bruising, and fatigue, which can help diagnose infection, anemia, leukemia, malaria, and other medical conditions.
  • Prothrombin Time: It measures the coagulation time of the blood by studying the various blood clotting factors, determining any bleeding abnormalities caused by medication or lack of clotting blood elements.
  • Basic Metabolic Panel: It measures glucose, calcium, chloride, sodium, potassium, carbon dioxide, creatinine, and blood urea nitrogen, which can help determine fluid and electrolyte balance, kidney function, and blood sugar levels.
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel: It’s a combination of six or more tests that evaluates metabolic functions by focusing on organ systems.
  • Lipid Panel: It’s a group of tests, including cholesterol and triglyceride levels, used to evaluate the risk of heart disease.
  • Liver Panel: This test assesses liver function to establish any presence of a liver tumor.
  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone: It monitors thyroid function to confirm a diagnosis, such as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and goiter.
  • Hemoglobin A1C: It is used to monitor and diagnose diabetes.
  • Urinalysis: It’s a general screening test to check for early signs of urinary tract infection, and to monitor kidney disease and diabetes.
  • Cultures: This test is used to diagnose different types of infections, such as urinary tract infections,  strep throat, pneumonia, and meningitis. Cultures are needed to detect the type of bacteria causing the illness for appropriate antibiotic treatment.

Imaging Studies

The most common imaging studies used to diagnose health problems include the X-ray, ultrasound, CT Scan, and MRI. Modern technology opens many doors of opportunities to discover more innovative imaging studies to assess injuries. Also, imaging studies can detect abnormal growth or tumors, blood clots, obstruction or blockages, and the presence of objects inside the body, like a coin stuck in the throat that had been swallowed by a child.

Here are the uses of imaging studies:

  • X-ray: It is used to diagnose pneumonia, bronchitis, and other respiratory health problems.
  • Ultrasound: This imaging study is typically used to confirm pregnancy and presence of tumors in the reproductive system and kidneys.
  • Computed Tomography or CT Scan: It’s most commonly performed in the brain or the nervous system to assess severe head and spinal cord injuries, detect tumors, abnormal blood vessels, and abscesses, and determine the cause of stroke.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI: Magnetic and radio waves are used to look at different structures or organs inside the body, and are also used to diagnose tumors and torn ligaments. MRI is used to diagnose degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Conclusion

Different testing options are now available to determine the root cause of a medical condition. Health problems can be detected in many ways, including basic laboratory workup and imaging studies. Also, telemedicine has paved the way for convenient laboratory testing within the comfort of your home for early detection and treatment of various illnesses.








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