The current pandemic, Covid-19, which has continued to affect millions of people across the globe, has accelerated the need for digital and technological equipment to handle the epidemic. Because of that, healthcare facilities need to know the equipment and technologies they need to have in preparedness for pandemics.
For instance, a portable medical refrigerator is an essential for any medical facility during a pandemic. Here are the top medical technologies every hospital must have.
With social distancing been highly stressed because of the current Covid-19, the medical world needs measures that ensure people minimize interactions, and one of these is telemedicine. Patients can comfortably get medical advice from home with regards to their symptoms hence reducing clinic visits. This allows the doctors to be keen on more urgent cases, which requires immediate attention.
For instance, in the United States, the use of Amwell’s Telemedicine App had increased by 158% while Plushcare appointments have gone high by 70% between January and May 2020. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the telemedicine services were only used by only 10% of all patients in the United States. Telemedicine also involves supplying homes with testing kits.
2. Tracking Smartphones
A pandemic spread very fast, and using the usual ways of tracing close contacts is not adequate. That is why hospitals have resorted to the use of technology to be able to fight pandemics effectively. Therefore, high tech tracing of close contacts by tracking smartphone users can pinpoint where individuals are and afterward warn those near someone infected.
In fighting Covid-19, several countries are using digital surveillance to fight the disease. For example, Singapore has adopted an opt-in application that utilizes wireless and Bluetooth signals to track users. Phone use tracking in South Korea has enabled the country to control the outbreak successfully. Moreover, operating systems owned by Google and Apple, the best tech giants, now feature contact tracking.
3. Virtual Reality
V.R. (virtual reality) is a fancy technology best known in the gaming world. However, this technology is also highly beneficial in the medical world from doctors’ training to use in treatments. Actually, according to a Business Review study conducted by Harvard, a 230% improvement in the surgery field was noted from physicians trained with virtual reality.
Introducing medical students to various simulations using virtual reality can also help develop empathy, resulting in a better understanding of the sick. This allows doctors to handle stigma and other issues related to pandemic better.
After every pandemic, the number of people who book appointments with psychologists increases exponentially as a consequence and so dealing with psychological issues early during treatment can help reduce the cases. Medical doctors also become traumatized as a result of seeing masses succumb to the disease, so therapeutic V.R. gives them the therapy they need.
4. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is highly beneficial in medicine, particularly when it comes to pandemics. For instance, epidemiologists were able to give the first Covid-19 warning by using artificial intelligence. Examination of C.T. scans of the lungs with artificial intelligence-based systems has enabled physicians working in China’s Zhongnan Hospital to prioritize possible cases of Covid-19 for more testing.
During a pandemic, A.I also helps in ensuring better management of hospital resources, improving efficiency. There is extensive research on an artificial intelligence framework that can help in prioritizing resources during pandemics.
Although there are many unrealistic expectations on the potential of artificial intelligence, it is highly helpful in times of crisis, and we cannot ignore that. So rather than fearing a future controlled by A.I., hospitals should see it as a help to elevate doctor’s skills.
Pandemics come with the need for reduced in-person contact with the infected to curb the spread. Consequently, hospitals are adopting robotic technology, which will ensure a human being does not treat patients.
Examples of such technology include the video robots used in Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital to send videos to doctors located in an emergency room and Nuro robots used in California to deliver protective gear, fresh linens, and food. Health care systems are also studying ways of using robots to fight pandemics directly. For example, decontamination robots are used by the University of Virginia to kill Covid-19 pathogens using ultraviolet lights and 3D imaging.
Some hospitals are also using robots in inpatient care during a pandemic. The robots carry out some tasks preserving doctors during an epidemic. Most of the time, the robot has a human-like voice or face to connect with the sick on a human level.
6. 3D Printing
Most hospitals panic when a pandemic arises because of a shortage of medical equipment. This puts the patients and doctors at a higher risk. However, it is said that innovation comes with a demand, and so to meet the demand for medical equipment, 3D printers are playing a significant role.
For example, in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, several hospitals such as the Northwell Health in New York and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston made face shields and masks using 3D printers. Some parts of ventilators can also be made using these printers. It has such a high potential to help in providing medical equipment during pandemics.
7. Precision Medicine
When a pandemic hit, the need for accurate precision medicine increases. This means that in preparedness for pandemics, hospitals need to have highly advanced clinical analytics and data collection ability because this helps in providing crucial data on the best-personalized treatment techniques for the infected and swift implementation.
Failure to have such capabilities leaves the physicians to use the same approach for everyone infected, wasting personal protective equipment, and not taking quick action for those in the riskiest circumstances. On June 18, John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore entered into a partnership of five years with Microsoft Azure because they understood the importance of precision medicine in fighting pandemics.
The current pandemic (Covid-19) has awakened many healthcare providers and professionals to the need for medical equipment and technologies that can aid in fighting pandemics with ease. While the equipment and techniques discussed in this article are some of the many health technologies and equipment available, adopting and acquiring them will ensure you are ready to face a pandemic. You can also research further to find out what other technologies and equipment you need to have.