Technology is helping shape and mould the future of healthcare within the United Kingdom. Improving accessibility, communication and efficiency, new technological advances are helping to improve the quality of care that patients receive. Let’s explore some of the most recent developments in technology and artificial intelligence that are helping to improve the healthcare sector.
Instant Communication with Patients
Not a recent breakthrough in technology by any means, but GP surgeries and dental practices are finally using SMS messaging to directly contact patients. Considerable time and money could be saved each year if patients cancelled GP or dental appointments that were no longer needed, and now, thanks to the use of text messaging services, practices can contact their patients 24 hours before a scheduled appointment to give them the opportunity to cancel if required. The text message also acts as a solid reminder, for those who have booked an appointment in advance, and may have missed the appointment by simply forgetting to make a note of it.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)Diagnosis
Apps and artificial intelligence are leading the way in digital diagnosis, saving medical professionals precious time and money. There are new entrants to the market, founded with the aim of increasing accessibility of healthcare, providing a database of hand-picked medical experts who are able to be accessed by downloading an app. Rather than calling up your GP and booking an appointment, access a medical professional or doctor from the comfort of your home can be provided enabling a virtual consultation regarding your medical concerns by mobile device. The app can also arrange a prescription to be sent directly to your home address or to your local pharmacy. Combing AI and qualified medical professionals, patients can access instant help and support without the need to book and wait for a GP appointment. The app however has its flaws, and should not be used for emergency medical help or as a replacement to a physical examination and diagnosis.
Health trackers and fitness monitors are also being developed to improve patient health, and are set to save thousands of lives. . According to electronics consultancy Plextek, the use of such devices could cut NHS costs per patient by up to 60%.
Microsoft AI Software for the Health Industry
Tech giant, Microsoft are planning a new healthcare division at its research facility in Cambridge. Using artificial intelligence Microsoft plans include a monitoring system that has been specially designed to keep patients out of hospitals and provide alerts if problems occur. If the software is a success, it will dramatically reform the NHS, freeing up hospital beds for medical emergencies. With less strain on doctors, the quality of patient care will inevitably improve, as doctors will have more time to spend analysing a patient’s condition and discussing healthcare options.
Technology is clearly shaping the way to view and provide healthcare in the UK and, with further development, will hopefully save both the NHS and the private healthcare sector time and money.