The digital age has transformed the way many industries function, the healthcare sector included. With widespread access to the internet, information about anything and everything is now readily available to whoever wants it. When it comes to a sensitive field such as the medical one, there are a number of pros and cons to this. While there are many concerns about misinformation from relying on unverified sources on the internet, there is also a real chance to make a lasting impact on how medical treatment and care are administered.
Self-diagnosis and Self-treatment
Only decades ago, medical information was scarce, and people relied heavily on their doctors and physicians to diagnose and treat all their ailments. Other sources of information were well-exposed individuals who knew a lot about sickness and disease. These days, people use their phones to look up information about their health in a few seconds. Self-diagnosis is the order of the day because anyone can just read up on their symptoms and reach a verdict which may or may not be related to the truth.
The benefits of easily available medical information include being able to whip up easy home-made solutions for minor discomforts. It is also good to stay informed and take a genuine interest in your health instead of blindly following. The dangers of the internet include relying on dubious sites and trying to treat oneself instead of consulting a qualified expert. A balance can be found by educating people about the pros and cons of “free” information.
Remote Healthcare to Far Away Locations
On a larger scale, the digital age now makes possible what was once a challenge before. There are many communities around the world where there are not enough medical facilities and healthcare workers to meet the needs of the local population. The World Health Organization prescribes that there be at least one doctor per 1,000 people, but sadly, in many parts of the world, this is far from the case. Statistics show that less than 45% of countries that are WHO member states meet this requirement. If internet access were to be available to everyone everywhere, then doctors could provide a minimal level of patient care even without being physically present. This could limit the amount of travel that many communities must do to get medical attention and also reduce those who end up going without.
Your Doctor on Speed Dial
Telephonic doctor consultations have been used in some communities that experience extreme weather. Imagine being stranded in a cabin in a major blizzard. You may not be able to reach your local doctor by road, but if the phone lines are unaffected, then you can reach them by phone. Now with the digital age, more and more is being done to provide better remote medical care. This includes video consultations.
Mobile Technology and Other Breakthroughs in Rural and Remote Medical Care
As already mentioned, medical information is great for everyone to have at the tips of their fingertips, but it should come from a trusted source. Many medical companies, organizations, and physicians have websites and mobile apps that give great health information. Developers and physicians are also bringing out more and more apps to allow people to be actively involved in monitoring their medical conditions, treatments, and symptoms. Another great use of technology in remote healthcare is in the deployment of drones to deliver medication and blood supplies to inaccessible areas.
While the ideal case is when you can see your doctor physically and get one on one consultations, many times this is not feasible or even possible. Digital solutions in healthcare have the potential to reach more people, bring convenience, and supplement the important work that healthcare workers do.