Six Things That Have Improved Healthcare
Healthcare has changed drastically over the years for the better. Recent improvements in health care are helping us live longer, healthier, more active lives. Here are six examples.
When doctors wanted to share patient information on paper, they had to make and send multiple copies, often with a delay while records were in transit. Electronic records can be copied and transmitted instantly, helping doctors to coordinate their efforts and reduce errors.
Until the discovery of X rays in 1895, doctors had to rely on indirect methods to detect what was happening in the body. Today’s imaging methods allow health care providers to see with great precision not just static images, but how organs are functioning in real time.
Due to rapid improvements in telecommunications, doctors can examine and converse with patients and consult with specialists who may be many miles away. Doctors can even operate remotely via robotic surgery.
Shorter Hospital Stays
Many procedures that used to require multiple days in the hospital for recovery can now be done on an outpatient basis. Better technology has led the advance. For example, laparoscopic surgery enables smaller incisions, which are less painful, heal more quickly, and expose less tissue to possible infection. With remote monitoring devices, doctors can keep track of patients’ vital signs even after they’ve left the hospital. Patients can recover in the comfort of home, where they’re less vulnerable to hospital infections and medical errors.
As scientists learn more about how genes operate, medical researchers have been able to refine their ability to compare tissues for compatibility, understand how strains of a disease differ, and begin to correct genetic damage and defects. When guesswork is reduced, patients benefit from more appropriate treatments that speed recovery.
Until quite recently in human history, infectious diseases killed more people than most other causes. The discovery of disease-causing microorganisms in the 19th century, development of methods to prevent infection, and the development of antibiotics in the 20th century have saved many millions of lives. Today, infection control extends from public health measures such as pure water supplies to ensuring that medical supplies and equipment arrive germ-free in sterile packaging. Packaging validation services from companies assure medical supply manufacturers that their products meet industry standards for safety.
Health care is continuing to advance, driven by the need to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. Innovations in record keeping, imaging, telecommunications, less time in the hospital, genetics, and infection control will contribute to keeping us healthier longer.