Up until the advent of penicillin, a simple infection could spell death for an ill-prepared patient. Before the invention of plastic, sterilization was a major issue due to the need to reuse medical equipment that is now disposable, something taken for granted by many. These advances in medical technology are not often thought about these days, but they have had a prominent effect on the way we live. About 50% of prescribed medicine is not taken correctly resulting in the death of more than 100,000 Americans a year(1). This is due to a variety of things, including patients not taking their medicine when they are supposed to, as well as mix-ups causing patients to take the wrong medicine.
Imagine a hospital that is completely wired in. Every aspect of medical care data is transferred through the web to the various computer hubs at which point doctors are able to analyze them and deliver diagnosis as well as prognosis. Having trouble imagining? Let’s paint a picture.
The Hospital of the Future
Ignore the technical definitions above the servers, thats just describing a company that deals with device connection equipment. Whats more important are those little blue lines that represent data being transferred through the web. Taking the top right example, the moment a patients Glucose level becomes irregular, the server sends a notation, in real time, to the physician who is able to analyze what is wrong and provide a real time solution. On the bottom left, an MRI is scanning for say, brain cancer. Upon completion of the scan, the image is wired to the physician who can analyze it in his office and determine how best to proceed.
Let us now go back to the rates of medicinal adherence and prescription drug error. It is poised to change due to one of the next great advances in medical technology, remote patient monitoring. The global patient monitoring system market will reach $9.3 billion in 2014, driven by the growth in remote patient monitoring, according to a new report from Infiniti Research, conducted by TechNavio. The report also highlighted some of the reasons that the growth can be expected. ”Remote patient monitoring is greatly minimizing hospital stays, resulting in a reduction of the cost of healthcare delivery. Thus, RPM helps healthcare centers reduce costs and increase business opportunities for healthcare service providers while integrating systems and providing necessary operational facilities.” (Infiniti Research) The growth is global, with advances coming from Europe and Japan as well as America.
More money is great, but what does it mean for the consumer?
More money means more research and more advances to help make sure that patients follow their medicinal regimen. Just like plastic ushered in an entire new era of sterilized, disposable, medical care, remote monitoring technology is going to usher in an entire new era of senior care. Already, great products are being put out that have an eye on maintaining medical regimens for patients.
1. National Council for Patient Information and Education. 8. Rosalynn Carter Institute of Georgia Southwestern College