by Dixie Somers
Hospitals have increasingly become not just places of healing, but innovative scientific and technical environments. As populations soar and insurance costs rise, healthcare has become a competitive field where more effective solutions are in demand. Here are some of the developments that keep medical care at the forefront of modern technology.
1. Genome Mapping
Medical researchers have explored and identified a large portion of our genetic makeup. They can now analyze your specific genetic condition to determine both the medicines and treatments likely to do you the most good, as well as those that could put you at risk. They can now evaluate either parent or infant genes and identify which diseases or medical conditions that the child may be at risk of as he/she grows. This allows hospitals to more effectively treat, and even prevent, many medical problems.
2. Computerized Records
Electronic health records, or EHR, have transformed the way hospitals manage patient information. Hard copy files, forms, and patient care charts that could be lost or damaged are being replaced by digital versions. Hospital staff can call up your complete medical history on a computer screen or tablet with a few clicks or taps. With cloud storage and data backups, your medical files will be available permanently, and they can be made accessible over the internet from anywhere you happen to be, whether at a local clinic or vacationing in Rome. Nearly all hospitals are opting for cross-platform solutions for information archiving that allows a range of computer systems to store and retrieve the same files. If you were to get a rare virus, specialists around the world can promptly review your file and consult on a solution.
3. Locator Technology
Wandering patients, intrusive visitors, errant staff, and misplaced equipment have always been a problem for busy hospitals. If a facility has only a few oxygen monitors, you need to know where they are at all times. RFID, or radio frequency ID tags, each emit a distinct radio signal that’s recorded electronically for the associated device. These signals are recorded by self-identified scanners placed throughout the hospital and stored with time stamps. Some RFID ranges are over 300 feet. Hospital personnel can determine the location of the equipment. RFID tags can be added to wearable badges or even uniforms, allowing the same system to track patients and personnel. Analyzing this data helps to suggest improvements that increase the level of patient care.
Electrical generators are used to perform some procedures with greater effectiveness, precision, and sanitation. The hospital version allows adjustments of a high-frequency current for the task at hand. This current is transmitted to the patient’s tissue via needles, bulbs, or other implements to make incisions, cauterize blood vessels, or vaporize cancerous tumors. In some cases the current is not applied directly but used to heat another surgical instrument. Mega Power electrosurgical generators are sophisticated instruments serving a variety of needs, from removing moles to internal surgery.
5. Modern Prosthetics
At one time, most prosthetic devices used to restore mobility to amputees or handicapped patients were both imprecise and expensive. They often required extended programs of physical therapy before the patient was able to effectively use the devices. It was particularly a problem with pediatric patients, as children would quickly outgrow their prostheses. Today we have 3-D printers that can produce custom-designed objects out of inexpensive plastics, often to specifications within the width of a human hair. Highly personalized prosthetics can be designed and reproduced in a day or two, making them both more effective and far more affordable that those from previous generations.
As modern technologies become tools of medicine, we’re beginning to see possibilities that were once science fiction. While medicine has had its failures, hospital care is gradually becoming a more exact science.
Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.
Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.