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Healthcare Technology Trend Enabling More Equitable Access to Care

 

Healthcare Technology Trend Enabling More Equitable Access to Care


Today’s healthcare technology trend enabling more equitable access to care helps improve the lives of patients, while also reducing the costs associated with their care. This healthcare technology trend focuses on providing care locally, instead of forcing patients to travel long distances to see specialists or receive procedures that can be provided closer to home. This trend has gained steam in recent years as the needs of both patients and healthcare providers have changed dramatically and many providers are now embracing this shift.


The Next Big Thing in Healthcare

From telemedicine to wearable devices, it seems like there’s a new healthcare technology popping up every day. The buzzwords can be intimidating, but understanding these technologies is key to not only comprehending them but also predicting what’s next in healthcare. No matter your personal outlook on healthcare reform, one thing is certain: local access means more people will have access—and that’s good news for consumers. Here are some of today’s most relevant technology trends


The Changing Landscape of Healthcare

Today, as care shifts away from hospitals and toward locally delivered services, new technologies are helping facilitate a more equitable delivery of healthcare. For example, telehealth solutions have been shown to improve patient outcomes and increase access for patients who live in rural areas or don’t have access to medical resources. The challenge is finding ways to ensure that these technologies are utilized equitably across different populations. However, by identifying barriers and overcoming them through innovative technologies and policies, we can make healthcare more accessible for everyone—no matter where they live.


Digital Solutions as Part of a New Approach

Digital solutions will play a big role in more equitable access to care. Patients who have traditionally had to travel long distances for specialty care or who live in rural areas can now access physician-led care from home. Digital tools, such as telehealth and virtual visits, can enable doctors and patients to connect for consultations and treatment on a much wider scale. The telehealth industry is quickly growing, with companies like Teladoc, American Well, and DocsCorp leading the way by offering digital services that are making remote healthcare easier than ever before. Digital health technology isn’t just used during treatments; it’s also being used as part of an overall healthcare approach.


Remote Patient Monitoring

As technology becomes more readily available and affordable, health systems are finding innovative ways to integrate technology into care delivery. For example, rather than bringing patients to a hospital for critical illness diagnoses and monitoring, some health systems are exploring ways to provide such services at home via remote patient monitoring. This type of access not only keeps people out of hospitals; it also helps them maintain their independence longer by enabling them (or their caregivers) to monitor signs of change in their condition from home—and can even help them find care faster if they do become sicker.


Home Care

As technology companies like Apple, Google and IBM expand into healthcare, health insurance providers are also looking for new ways to expand their reach without expensive investments in brick-and-mortar locations. One of those new models is home care, which requires less funding than typical medical offices and uses portable devices that can be brought from one appointment to another. In addition, home care reduces costs by avoiding overnight stays in a hospital or even an extended stay at a nursing facility. It’s not surprising that hospitals—faced with higher operating costs and declining reimbursements—are starting home care programs.


Longer Lives, Stronger Communities

In recent years, much has been written about how technological advancements like telehealth and other healthcare technology is enabling patients to receive care from providers thousands of miles away. While there are many benefits to being able to receive specialty or expert care from afar, there are a number of downsides that go hand-in-hand with virtual healthcare. Of course, when it comes down to it, patients simply want - and need - access to high quality health care regardless of their location. As communities look for ways improve overall health outcomes in their areas through more equitable access, it's time we begin thinking about locally delivered healthcare as a way forward.

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