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Emerging Technologies in Health Care Delivery


Managing one’s health in the future will involve an app, a “smart” device or a patient portal. The explosion of the mobile technology industry is fast and furious, and health systems are scrambling to keep up. These changes create both opportunities and risks; but by far the positives outweigh the negatives. The impact of this technology-driven era will provide more analytics, accountability and accessibility.

The emerging technologies that are changing the way we deliver health care include:

Smart Phones and Tablets – Physicians have readily adopted the iPad as part of their medical practice, enabling them to securely search for lab values and X-rays, and to communicate with staff and patients. These consumer-grade devices are entering the hospitals most rapidly by way of patients and family, and from a facility utility standpoint, the need for electrical outlets for charging inpatient and family areas is a priority. Patients and family have an expectation of Internet access, and the growth of personal Internet devices is driving hospitals to provide more Wi-Fi access. Clinicians are slower to adopt mobile technology; they soon will follow. The tablets’ lightness, affordability and ability to be customized through apps make them ideal tools for the health care environment.

Health care Apps – Mobile device apps provide rich information and health management tools. Among the custom apps that health systems are developing are a “wait time” app for the emergency department, a contractions monitor for patients in labor and delivery and facility maps with wayfinding to make it easy for patients and family members to navigate the hospital. Patients are monitoring their own blood pressure, air quality, blood glucose and weight loss, and these apps will only become more sophisticated, as will the consumers using them.

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