“Every individual strives for their good health and that of their family. Health is one of the major driving factors in life – we continually work to upgrade our lifestyle so that we can afford the healthcare that we need and lead a better life. The healthcare management industry is built around our need to stay healthy.”
As the world population grows at a staggering rate, our healthcare services often find themselves lacking when it comes to providing basic healthcare to all. WHO’s a call for a UHC or Universal healthcare continues to stay a dream.
Lack of access to healthcare – a global problem
Although the global healthcare industry growth is slated to increase by nearly 5-7% per annum, the availability of healthcare around the world is quite varied. According to a report by the WHOby WHO and World Bank, nearly half the world’s population has no access to healthcare.
Another 800 million people have access to healthcare but continue to spend over 10% of their household income on healthcare expenses and products offered by various healthcare industry sectors. Each year, over 100 million people face financial ruin because of out-of-pocket healthcare expenses.
The problems of availability
Another aspect of healthcare that goes largely ignored is the reach of healthcare. Many people around the world continue to face hardships or even loss of life due to the unavailability of essential healthcare services in time.
Countries that possess a good healthcare system strive to provide their services to all their citizens, however, it is literally impossible for a doctor to be available at more than one place at one time.
Similarly, for those with visual or other impairments, it might sometimes become difficult to access healthcare in the time of need. Sadly, it is noticed that millions of people have access to the internet and possess some handheld device but might not have access to healthcare or the means to access it.
The internet – a blessing in disguise
The unavailability of healthcare is a problem around the world. With more than half of the population of the developing world having access to a handheld or a portable device and free or relatively cheap internet connectivity, the internet can come to the rescue of those in need.
The ability of the internet to provide communicational and informational services anywhere around the world in seconds is the reason why the internet and technology are poised to become the next driving factors in the healthcare world.
AI to the rescue
Thousands of people die each year even though they have access to healthcare, but the healthcare providers are unable to reach them in time. Tens of thousands of people find the reach of healthcare lacking as they are unable to communicate on the phone due to impairments or other limitations.
Artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things can leverage the power of the world wide web to help these people when they need them the most. AI has also helped boost the healthcare industry growth overall by enhancing the quality and availability of services.
Providing healthcare to remote areas
Basic healthcare setups might have all the medication required, but often lack a full-time physician who can diagnose and provide immediate relief. Changing healthcare industry trends ensure that traditional physician-patient contact models are replaced by modern technology that can make healthcare available for everyone.
Using video calls, healthcare apps and other supportive technologies, healthcare can reach the farthest of places and provide much more accurate diagnosis than before, lowering mortality rates and enhancing the well-being of those in remote areas.
Specialized mobile phone apps for Android and iPhone can help individuals and field workers transmit live patient data and information to physicians around the world, ensuring that those who can reach a health center can get basic support even if the physician is not present at the center.
Patients who are unable to reach a health center can interact with caregivers and healthcare staff using apps, ensuring that they can be given the care they need at home and reducing the time wasted between diagnosis and dispensing medication.
Assistance for professionals
Many emergency services suffer from a lack of information or trained and experienced professionals. In today’s connected world, surgeries are often guided by expert surgeons across the globe as their peers use their knowledge to perform better.
Similarly, emergency services can be guided by physicians and other professionals while on the ground, ensuring that knowledge and information reach where it is needed the most. Powered by the internet of things and Artificial Intelligence, the closest available healthcare professionals can now reach and assist patients those in the field in need at the right time, helping save lives.
Emergency services – Geolocation, detection and other benefits
While most countries have emergency services on the phone, sometimes those in need are unable to reach for their phone or dial a number. Smart devices like smart speakers, wearables, mobile phones and other connected devices at home can be activated and programmed to contact and alert emergency services so that those in need can get the assistance they want when they need it most. It is almost always easier for individuals to say what the problem is, even if they cannot dial a number.
The internet and artificial intelligence have made inroads in various healthcare industry sectors. Devices like the Apple watch have already demonstrated early examples of how a person’s well-being can be nearly assured using the internet and technology.
By providing information regarding a person’s heart rate, the Apple watch has been able to diagnose a potential cardiac problem and alerted the wearer in time so that they can contact emergency services for assistance. In the future, we can hope that these devices can directly contact services in the case of need.
Similarly, those requiring an ambulance usually call emergency services and one is dispatched their way after a long series of questions and answers.
Wearables can come to the rescue as dedicated apps can help people alert emergency services at an event diagnosed by the wearable or when triggered by the user, providing all relevant information to the caregivers beforehand and ensuring that in a well-connected world, the nearest available caregiver is automatically sent to those in distress, speeding up the availability of essential services which directly decreases the risk of death or bodily harm.
As the internet and its growth increases by the day, healthcare can only benefit from its reach and capability. It has become easy for us to include the entry of the internet and artificial industry even while taking a healthcare industry overview.
As medical and healthcare services see increased usage of the internet on a daily basis, we can only see the healthcare technology sector grow with leaps and bounds, helping both the patient and the caregivers get the desired results.
With the potential to provide information, assistance and aid at the right time, the internet, coupled with smart devices, IOT and Artificial Intelligence are the medical professionals of the future.
Striving to reach even the remotest of places, the internet has become a helping hand for nearly every medical caregiver and patient around the world and it strives to help the World Health Organization realize its dream – Universal healthcare for everyone.