Healthcare Technology Featured Article

September 10, 2020

Why the Healthcare System Needs Automation More Than Ever




As the world tries to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has never been more important than it is today. These days, technology is more than just a convenience; it’s a necessity for every household, especially when we look at how the pandemic has uprooted our very way of life. With the many restrictions imposed on households and businesses, we’ve been forced to adapt our technology in order to survive. This is evident in our profuse use of social media and mobile apps to help promote and provide goods and services.

It’s no secret that healthcare systems across the world are experiencing a critical drain in resources in an effort to contain and remedy the spread of the virus. In fact, many hospitals (even in first world countries) no longer have any room to accommodate additional patients, and what’s more worrisome is the dwindling number of medical professionals that are on duty.

Health Workers Need Room to Recover

We need to think of our health workers as more than just cogs in a machine. They are our best chance to survive the pandemic and eliminate the threat of the virus. Seeing as they are our most important resource, and we cannot afford to waste them by forcing them into endless toil in a seemingly endless battle against an unseen foe.

The worst news about this is that if severe cases continue to increase at the pace that our hospitals are currently operating, there might not be enough equipment and rooms to accommodate additional patients.

Our medical professionals need all the help that they can get, and that respite might just be in the form of artificial intelligence and automation.


Diagnosis

Automation and artificial intelligence help streamline workflows, thus decreasing the chance of a clinician burnout. These systems can be implemented upon registration, where a patient simply inputs information on a terminal, which then cross-references present symptoms and other important data with stored information on various illnesses and diseases.

This not only expedites the diagnosis of patients, but it also inherently limits the interaction between doctors and patients, thus drastically reducing the risk of infection, both for the doctors and for the patient who may not actually be infected.

Expedited Triage

Another way that these technologies can help streamline the healthcare process is through an answering service or hotline to provide general information on the virus.

Several companies have launched telephone hotlines that help healthcare workers manage triage much more efficiently and by enabling workers to direct high-risk patients to the proper care location immediately. This meant that the risk of spreading the infection to other areas was significantly reduced because enough information was gathered to help healthcare workers identify the level of risk that these patients had.

These services are not necessarily new, given that many doctors have been compelled to get a doctor answering service even before the onset of the pandemic.

Chatbots

Chatbots are another measure that make a great deal of sense given that internet usage has spiked in recent months. Because the internet has become our primary source of information, it makes perfect sense to implement a measure that can answer the many questions that people may have concerning the virus.

The value of this isn’t just in the fact that it provides people with a reliable source of information, but it also helps lessen the traffic directed to hotlines. It can also help in contact tracing, where the names of people who showed symptoms of the virus can be contacted directly and given the medical attention they need.

Faster Identification and Interpretation of Test Results

By cross-referencing test results with previous tests that have yielded positive outcomes, medical technologists will be able to interpret test results much quicker, allowing for more patients to be tested.

The quicker a patient is diagnosed, the sooner proper treatment can begin, which leads to quicker recovery times. With this kind of efficiency, hospitals can be better equipped to handle the spike in medical emergencies that the pandemic has brought.

Even as we live through difficult times, we need to adapt as quickly as we can in order to maximize our chances of making it through this pandemic. Technology has always been our wild card, and this time, it seems that these innovations are bound to become the norm, even after the pandemic is over.









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