Prashanth Shidlaghatta

Prashanth Shidlaghatta, Director, Digital Innovation and Consulting, Unisys India.

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The Impact of Technology in Healthcare

With the application of technologies such as IoT and machine learning, healthcare today has become more accessible, more efficient and more responsive.

We have today become familiar with words such as Internet of Things (IoT), big data, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and blockchain. These disruptive technologies have forever changed the way individuals and organizations function, revolutionizing many industries. The healthcare industry is no exception to this trend.

With the application of technologies such as IoT and machine learning, healthcare today has become more accessible, more efficient and more responsive. It should be noted that data and data analytics play a big role in this transformation. The collection of vast amounts of data by devices such as wearables is only the first step in holistic and real-time delivery of healthcare. This data once collected and analyzed, has the potential to empower doctors and even medical devices in caring for patients and taking corrective measures in real time. 

To better understand how IoT devices, AI and machine learning can be applied together to provide improved care to patients, we can look at how diabetic patients are now being cared for. IoT serves as the backbone to a connected device ecosystem, comprising a meter, an insulin pen and a remote safety monitoring setup. The meter has the ability to detect and automatically transmit data about the patient’s health and requirements to a remote system. The system then processes the data in light of the patient’s parameters and utilizes an algorithm to activate the insulin device with the correct dose.

While this may seem like a rudimentary understanding of how technology has impacted healthcare, it would be prudent to list out its key benefits to all stakeholders across the spectrum. For the patient, the need for human intervention and the possible impact of error or bias is reduced, ensuring a scientific and calculated approach to healthcare. When it comes to the medical practitioners, it reduces the time they spend on therapy and recommendations, by providing real time automation. As for the healthcare industry, it brings about standardization, improves operational efficiency and reduces costs in the long run.

Having said that, it is imperative to highlight the myriad ways in which technology has improved healthcare from the patient’s perspective. Something as basic as the use of handheld and connected devices by doctors and nurses, for instance, has the potential to transform patient care. The ability to collate lab results, records of vital signs and other such critical patient data in a centralized platform has enhanced the level of care and efficiency a patient can expect to receive when they enter the healthcare system.

On a concluding note, it must be kept in mind that Artificial Intelligence and IoT, whether in healthcare or in any other industry, often go hand in hand. In fact, they feed and sustain on one another. What good would vast amounts of data be of, without the algorithms to process and make sense of it all? Bearing this in mind, the need of the hour is not merely to proliferate the healthcare industry with more devices, but to augment the ability to process the data from those devices, producing actionable and data driven decisions.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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