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The top ICT solutions for healthcare you can access right now

Information and communication technology (ICT) is the heartbeat of global digital communications, and the lifeblood of all computer function. That is why IT innovations drive nearly every facet of modern life, and healthcare is no exception to this.

ICT is bringing rapid improvements to patient care, data gathering and the reach of the human (and artificial) mind. For healthcare professionals, it pays to take a holistic approach to these technologies and determine which combination will create a network of benefits for the bottom line and improved patient outcomes. Here we dive into some of the top ICT solutions for healthcare that you can access right now.

Wearable Technology

Wearable technology such as the Fitbit or Apple Watch are making an impressive foray into the health and wellness space. Used appropriately, it can make doctor's lives easier and patient care better by monitoring and gathering important health information. 

A recent survey1 of Australians over the age of 65 of 65 found that 56% of seniors (2 million) are using technology at least monthly to manage their health. They are using smartphone cameras and biomonitors to monitor their blood pressure, vital signs and track indicators of chronic disease. Further to this, 52% say the main reason they like wearable technology is because it helps them understand health conditions and medications.

Patient education is essential to improve compliance with care and medication plans. A recent study2 found 

In developed countries, approximately 50% of patients living with chronic disease do not adhere to treatment recommendations. A similar proportion do not take preventative medicines as prescribed.

When wearable technology improves medication adherence and the importance of following doctor's orders, it helps to improve health and reduces overall health costs.

The market for these products is exploding. Sales of lifestyle 'wearables' exceeded USD $4 billion in 2017, with growth expected to increase by a further 35% by 2019. Along this line, medical practices and hospitals are also investing more, integrating mobile apps into their patient care practices. Apps are often affordable, and the additional information gained by the medical team helps to close the information gap that occurs when the patient leaves the practice.

Data from Wearable Technology

Patient generated data is creating a massive database of biometric information. When aggregated, patient generated data is leading to improved understanding of the early causes of disease. 

This data is also being used in some clinical trials and to further the understanding and treatment of depression and bipolar disease for mental health patients. Specific healthcare institutions may not be able to acquire the Big Data analyticsand machine learning necessary to benefit from it, but large foundations and technology companies are analysing it and sharing with researchers.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Virtual and augmented reality is improving both patient care as well as medical education. Virtual reality (VR) creates an artificial visual experience on a computer or headset that the viewer can become immersed in. It is already helping surgeons train for complex surgeries, as they can plan and practice complex surgical procedures beforehand; reducing risk and improving patient outcomes. Virtual reality also helps to educate patients and prepare them for surgery. Patient engagement can reduce anxiety and create informed expectations for recovery. 

Augmented reality (AR) combines the real world and virtual reality. For example, doctors can lay graphics and illustrations over a patient's imaging to educate them about disease and surgical procedures. VR and AR are available in some applications now and will only increase in the coming five years.

Internet of Health Things

The future is already here, and the Internet of Health Things (IoHT) is one indication. IoHT is something that all healthcare professionals need to know about, and refers to the interconnection of all things on the internet. In a hospital setting, that could involve anything from automates security and heating systems, right through to digital imaging and electronic medical records. IoHTis the system that allows these things to be monitored, and data to be gathered and analysed. For healthcare organisations, IoHT means more efficient use of resources, leaner and more effective operations, and more engaged patients and clients.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is gathering speed and rapidly expanding from research quarters into the mainstream of healthcare. AI and machine learning can process immense data sets with advanced algorithms to improve disease research. 

In healthcare, AI can be used for surgical robotics, patient care analytics, and improved workflow systems. It facilitates automation, research and powers new platforms that can improve patient outcomes.

A recent survey7 shows 35% of healthcare organisations plan to leverage artificial intelligence within two years - and more than half intend to do so within five.

Survey respondents are looking to AI to help them with challenges that include population health, clinical decision support, patient diagnosis and precision medicine.

About Vita Enterprise Solutions

Healthcare organisations who want to grow and sustain efficient operations need to acquire advanced technology. However, it can be challenging to determine which are necessary for an organisation's growth and even more difficult to select the right type, size and cost. With more than 20 years experience, Vita Enterprise Solutions is a well-known leader in the sector - winning Telstra Enterprise Partner of the Year in 2016. Vita Enterprise Solutions goes the extra mile to deliver results for our clients, adding value to how businesses operate through designing and implementing bespoke solutions that improve systems and processes, combined with industry expertise.







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