The combined magnitude of innovation’s impact on medicine sometimes hides behind the patchwork of advances in different areas of healthcare technology.
However, those advances are reshaping care delivery apace, as National Geographic points out in a recent article.
What’s Old Is New (and a Little Different)
Once, physicians regularly made house calls. Then, patients went to hospitals, clinics or physicians’ offices. Today, care is increasingly delivered in “a blended, real-world-mixed-with-virtual-world model,” according to National Geographic.
Web-based portals, integrated monitoring devices and, yes, even selfies have made it possible for providers who are now often dubbed “virtualists” to remotely assess a wide range of conditions.
That is eliminating the need for many in-person physician-patient encounters and could radically diminish the amount of time patients must spend traveling to appointments and sitting in waiting rooms.
Mayo Clinic experienced a 40 percent drop in readmissions associated with cardiac issues after prescribing heart failure patients an app to monitor physical activity and blood pressure.
This points to the rising potential of “digiceuticals.” The idea behind digiceuticals is to enhance health without conventional drugs or in-person visits. Providers leverage software or remote appointments to achieve good outcomes.
Up and coming in this arena: apps that “retrain” the brain to reduce the noise associated with tinnitus.