Health Tech Reshapes the Healthcare Industry
Updated: Jan 17
Whether it’s the video calls we use to keep in touch with family far away, the apps we use to translate languages, or the easy access to online maps to help us find our way, digital technology is changing almost every aspect of our lives. Could the availability of this technology help us to feel more confident about adventuring abroad in the future? Some places around the world have used technology to reach new heights, becoming Smart Cities, and Singapore is well on its way to becoming a Smart Nation.
How is tech changing healthcare? Across the world, organizations are looking at ways to use technology to make health services easier to access and more affordable. They’re using the power of smart devices, paired with online tools to create systems that are accessible for everyone, from almost anywhere. The uprise in these services, such as telemedicine, has been game-changing for globe-trotters who spend their time across several countries, often without easy access to trusted healthcare regardless of location.
Smart medicine Wearable technologies, like fitness trackers, have made it easier for us to keep an eye on our health – truly putting us in the driving seat of our wellbeing. It’s easy to lose track of our health with the hectic lives we’re all living now. From the amount of sleep we’re getting to how many steps we do a day, it can be tricky to keep on top of it with a global lifestyle, but these small things can make a big difference.
Take smart pills as one example. Smart pills are swallowable biometric scanners that can perform a variety of medical functions internally, from imaging and scanning to drug delivery. They’re non permanent ingestible sensors, so unlike a pacemaker, they pass through your system when the job is done.
These devices can give doctors and researchers unprecedented information about a patient, like internal body temperature, local pH, and more. They can also detect warning signs for ulcers, tumors, and bleeding along the GI tract, and are more cost-effective and often less invasive than many of the alternatives. Eventually, smart pills will be able to administer drugs in specific areas based on certain vital preconditions.
Technology and mental health Technology is also shaping the future of mental health. In a world of movers and shakers who often aren’t in any one place for very long, mobile solutions are very important for us all to be able to keep tabs on our mental health. This technology has proved popular not only with individuals but also employers who have employees on international assignments. Our 2017 World of Work report showed that 28% of international assignments had been terminated as the employee and their family were having difficulties adjusting to the lifestyle and unfamiliar cultures of their new country. Digital mental health solutions are helping to keep employees well, easing the adjustment not only for them but for their families, too.
The surge in mental health apps is helping to raise awareness and reduce some of the stigmas that are often faced with mental illness. With untreated mental health conditions making up 13% of the total global burden of diseases, this is great news.
Apple recently released its own proprietary, physician-approved EKG app for Apple Watches. Fitbit is pursuing similar opportunities, as is Samsung. These portable EKGs are bringing cardiovascular insights to people every day.
For the average person with a healthy heart, it’s an additional layer of health data. But for someone with atrial fibrillation, a condition that affects over 2.5 million Americans annually, it’s an early detection system that can be the difference between life and death. Technology holds the answer to helping Americans better organize their medical lives and receive better care.