Health IT is a rapidly changing field. Modern technology extends beyond electronic health records and advanced data systems management. Groundbreaking innovations in health care and beyond are bringing health IT professionals closer than ever before to the devices and treatments being used to help patients. Here’s a look at four of the biggest technological advancements happening in health IT this year.
Additive manufacturing is another term for the process of converting a digital design to a physical object via the use of a 3D printer. This field has experienced rapid growth across many sectors, including health care. Surgeons have successfully printed tools and implants customized to a specific patient and procedure. Prosthetic devices can be printed for a fraction of the cost of traditional manufacturing. This expands the availability of prosthetics to patients who could not previously afford them, or to children who need an affordable solution to the problem of outgrowing prosthetics as they age.
Professionals trained in health informatics may be called on to support 3D printing equipment in hospitals, research laboratories, and beyond.
Image via Flickr by Roberrific
The medical field has used diagnostic radiology since the 1970s, but recent advances are taking the capabilities of this technology to an exciting new level. As equipment becomes smaller and more portable, technicians can more easily capture images of patients with mobility issues. Hi-definition imaging is dramatically improving the level of visible detail in x-rays and scans. Remote viewing capabilities allow doctors, nurses, and even patients themselves to easily view and compare current and past images. Electronic health records can incorporate radiological images to give providers a comprehensive look at a patient’s condition and progress.
Optimization in Blood Testing
Research estimates that seven to eight out of 10 medical decisions are based on blood test results, according to Abbott. The traditional method of collecting a patient’s blood via a long needle and several vials is expensive; it accounts for more than two percent of all health spending in the United States. It’s also time-consuming; tests can take several days or more to complete, at a volume of more than seven billion blood tests per year.
New technology offers the potential to conduct hundreds of tests from a single drop of blood, with results transmitted electronically in a matter of hours and at a far lower cost than conventional testing.
The Telemedicine Trend
Another hi-tech health care trend on the rise is telemedicine (or telehealth.) Using video conferencing, electronic health records, patient portals, digital imaging, remote monitoring, and other developing technologies, patients can access medical care even when they can’t meet with a provider in person. Telemedicine is cost-effective, offers health care access to patients in rural areas or with limited mobility, and is an innovative solution to increasing demand for ongoing care for chronic conditions.
Health IT isn’t just about maintaining information systems. Technology is an integral part of every aspect of modern health care. Qualified health IT professionals can expect to be constantly challenged and sought-after as innovation in health care continues to surge forward.
If you are interested in furthering your career in health informatics, consider enrolling in the online Master of Science in Health Informatics degree program with the University of Illinois at Chicago.
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