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We certainly can't deny the benefits of technology in healthcare — much of the recent progress we've seen in the medical field is due precisely to technological innovation.
But how is this tech revolution shaping our lives, and is it really for the better?
The impact of technology on healthcare includes three main areas: 1) quality of human life, 2) healthcare jobs, and 3) the world economy. As fresh investments continue to fuel the private sector, we can be certain that interest in medical innovation is not slowing down.
Among the advantages of technology in healthcare we can also count the decline in preventable death cases, along with a general improvement of patient well-being. Treatment and recovery time have been reduced significantly. Alongside this, let’s not forget the rise of new career paths and job openings for medical workers.
Where does all of this lead us? Let's explore how tech is affecting the medical industry today.
Improving Lives Today with Wearable Technology in Healthcare
As private competition drives innovation to new heights, more and more useful gadgets enter the lives of everyday people. Most smartphones, tablets and other similar devices already provide us with access to a number of apps to monitor our health.
With medical information available from a wide range of sources, modern patients are keen to know, how has medical technology changed? Well, the demand for more accurate and dedicated health-tracking devices has opened up a new highly specialized niche: wearables.
These wearable technologies come in the form of clothing or accessories, which incorporate various practical functions and features. For example, there are affordable advanced wearables which can monitor your vitals for any signs or complications related to heart failure, breathing problems, UTI or diabetes.
Usually comfortable to wear as an accessory, wearables come in different sizes. They can raise an alarm and/or notify your healthcare provider at the first sign of a medical problem. This feature alone could result in a significant drop in the number of people hospitalized each year.
Positive Impact of Technology on the Healthcare Field: More Job Openings
Medical technology doesn't only affect your personal quality of life; it also affects the lives of thousands of medical professionals and students training to become medical experts.
There are substantial inward investments in the field of healthcare technology that not only help innovation, but also provide a number of high quality jobs.
foteih / / CC BY-SA
New career choices such as EEG technologists, MRI technologists or surgical technologists are not uncommon these days. Plus, these types of careers are on the rise and most have an average salary between $40,000 and $60,000 making them great long-term professional tracks.
Bio-engineering job openings are also steadily increasing. Even if we examine the IT sector, we can find examples of the evolving relationship between technology and healthcare.
Health Tech's Global Growth: New Investments in the Private Sector
From an even bigger perspective, innovative health technology is helping us grow the world economy. More and more entrepreneurs and business owners have started to invest in medical technology today:
Some 95% of medical technology companies are Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs), most of which are dedicated to investing in research and development. On average the medical technology industry reinvests around 8% of sales into product research and development.
If we are to widely consider the question, How has technology changed healthcare?, there is no straightforward response since it's an ongoing process. All we know is that it's becoming a huge focus of world economies.
Just a few years ago, China emerged as a new international player in this niche sector, and has had a massive impact on the market:
Chinese competitors stake claims in global markets by offering capabilities and functionalities at price points 20-30% lower than their other global competitors.
China will lead the tech disruption in APAC, with its share of the APAC healthcare IT market forecasted to grow from 21% in 2013 to 32% by 2020.
As more investments are dedicated to the development of technology in the medical field, it is clear that interest in the sector has significantly increased. This will surely reshape the economic landscape in many countries, including the US.
Bottom Line: Cognitive Computing Is Improving the Quality of Healthcare
According to research by HorizonWatch, the cognitive analytics and computing market is expected to grow by 27% by the end of 2015. This will inevitably lead to more accurate and faster data transfers, which means improved patient care and more job openings in both the IT/Tech sector and related healthcare sub-fields.
We can clearly see a huge leap forward in the advancement of medical technology with ever-increasing growth overall.
With Millennials entering the medical and IT fields en masse, we can expect even more innovation and development in the years to come. What will modern medicine achieve next? That's up to us and the next generation of medical professionals.
Be sure to check out our previous post on the impact of healthcare technology on healthcare where we also discuss the "dark side of technology."