How Technology Is Transforming Healthcare

First Posted: Mar 29, 2019 09:07 PM EDT

The digital era has been defined by radical disruption that's upended our daily lives, our political systems, and our economic means of production. Too little attention has been paid to the way that technology is transforming healthcare in this day and age, however, especially since there are increasingly wondrous developments in the field of medical technology that almost seem too good to be true. It's time to stop focusing on the scary ways that the world is changing and to pay more attention to the positive ways that technology is improving our lives.

Here's how technology has served to drastically transform the medical field for the better, and what the future has in store for you the next time you visit the doctor's office.

Medical school is changing

Many people think of hospitals and doctors when discussing healthcare, but the aspiring young students who are training to be the next generation of medical professionals also warrant our attention. This is because modern medical schools are changing at an incredibly rapid pace, with fascinating technological developments offering new ways to instruct the next generation of doctors and nurses. Some schools have already begun using VR and AR technology to educate their students, for instance, with virtual training facilities cropping up all over the nation.

Now that medical schools are finally leveraging technology like VR and AR, the nurses and doctors of tomorrow can gain an unprecedented look at how surgery is conducted. The University of Nebraska Medical Center and its $118 million virtual and augmented reality center is just one example of how the future of healthcare will be increasingly molded by digital developments. Certain gadgets like VR and AR headsets are only the beginning, too, with other technologies promising even greater disruptions to come in the healthcare industry.

Artificial intelligence will change healthcare forever

One of the most exciting developments hurtling towards the healthcare industry is the rise of artificial intelligence. While the concept of intelligent machines was once dismissed as being a Hollywood-style fantasy, modern machine learning techniques are already incredibly advanced and are only improving as more time goes on. Surgical robotics companies are springing up left in right in eager anticipation of cashing in on forthcoming AI advancements. Robot-assisted technologies will help surgeons be more precise and efficient than ever before, and we may not be too far off from the day when surgery is accomplished single-handedly by machines.

With AI being one of the most transformative technologies to disrupt the healthcare sector in living memory, it's understandable that some medical professionals are concerned about the future. After all, the rise of intelligent machines could put some nurses out of a job and replace lazy doctors with more refined robots. Despite all the fear of automation and job-loss to come, however, there are plenty of reasons to believe that newfound technological developments will mostly be a positive thing for the healthcare industry.

The healthcare industry is expected to keep expanding for the foreseeable future, after all, especially since the populations of wealthy countries keep getting older and in need of assisted living. Aspiring doctors and nurses shouldn't fear AI as some job-reaper come to replace them, but rather view these technological developments as useful tools which can be applied to saving and improving the lives of patients.

Healthcare management will be redefined

While it's not nearly as flashy or attractive as life-saving surgery or the daily care offered in hospitals, healthcare management is a crucially important aspect of saving lives that's often underappreciated. This may change in the future, as developments in AI stand to upend management practices in particular by automating mundane tasks and freeing up managers to focus more on their human employees. The UK government is currently debating how to adopt AI into its National Health Service, with patients and doctors alike expected to benefit from the introduction of AI that can manage diagnostics, appointments, and prescriptions.

Healthcare management will become dominated by digital technology in the near-future to an even greater extent than it is now. Doctors and nurses of tomorrow will be expected to have a deep understanding of the latest digital technology, with tech savviness being an important aspect of remaining viable in the job market. Don't let the doomsday predictions fool you - continued technological developments shouldn't be feared, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the healthcare industry.

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