4 Ways Technology Has Transformed Health and Medicine
Medicine and science have long been intertwined, and it was the development of rigorous scientific protocols that led to modern medicine. Effective medicine did not arrive until the early part of the 20th century, and its rate of advancement has been breathtaking. It has been technology, however, that truly made medicine the field it is today. Here are four ways technology has transformed health and medicine.
As scientists grappled with fundamental physics, a number of new technologies were born. While researching the nature of light, scientist and theorists discovered the existence of a number of different waves. One of these waves, X-rays, would revolutionize medicine. With an X-ray machine, doctors can create images of the interior of a patient. Instead of having to rely on the symptoms a patient reports, doctors can now see exactly what the problem is. X-rays remove much of the guesswork from practicing medicine, and countless lives have been saved because of X-rays. In addition, imaging has improved dramatically thanks to computerized imaging technology. CT scans and MRIs now allow doctors to achieve even more helpful images than they could in the past.
2. Digital records
To best help patients, doctors need access to medical records. These records, however, used to require manila folders and handwritten notes. Over time, files could be lost, and misreading files could lead to disastrous results. Thanks to digital records, these past problems are now being mitigated. Typed notes make it impossible to misread information, and digital records can be stored on backup sites to ensure their availability. In addition, medical records can be sent across the Internet instantly, which reduces the lag many patients experience when dealing with multiple doctors. Digital records are increasingly being used by medical professionals, and government agencies are helping to subsidize the cost of the transition.
3. Advanced techniques for creating drugs
One of the most crucial aspects of effective health care is medicine. Antibiotics have saved countless lives, and drugs are used to help those who suffer from cancer and other potentially deadly diseases. Creating new drugs, however, is notoriously difficult, and most attempts will fail at some stage. Thanks to computer models, however, manufacturers can determine if a particular drug is likely to be effective. Advanced testing procedures have allowed regulators to give guidelines that help manufacturers bring their products to the market quickly, and new technology has made it easier to track how well drugs perform. Armed with better medicines, doctors can now help their patients live longer, happier lives.
4. Information distribution
In the past, doctors and nurses were the only sources of information, and those who had questions had to rely on them or try to read medical literature. Thanks to the Internet, people can now find reputable sources that provide useful answers and advice. While diagnosing oneself is generally a bad idea, information about managing a disease can be useful. Diabetics can now find healthy recipes online, and online communities offer great support. In addition, people can use their smart phones to track diet and exercise, and tracking these factors can have a dramatic affect on one’s health. Health has become far more personalized in recent years, and there are valuable tools that everyone can use.
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Darren King is a medical data analyst and guest author at HowDoIBecomeA.net, where he contributed the guide: How Do I Become A Medical Data Analyst?.