Technology is transforming healthcare systems around the world
The pace of health innovation is accelerating rapidly with new technologies regularly being discussed in the context of health and the improvements they can bring.
Furthermore, technology is now a key component of every part of the healthcare value chain and has the potential to transform the system as a whole.
At last week’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting the role of technology in health and development was frequently discussed. For example, the forum saw a coalition of businesses and foundations commit $50million to deploying 50,000 community health workers and provide digital door-to-door care for 34 million people.
Numerous reports suggest that mobile technology allow health care workers to provide care for a lower cost, improves general health and educates communities oh health care issues. A recent study of isolated women in Vietnam highlights this.
Technology will have a critical role in improving health and healthcare provision in a number of ways.
Firstly, new and innovative technologies will allow medicine to reach patients faster. The growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI), wearable sensors and digitizing healthcare records are likely to boost drug discovery efforts.
Microsoft highlighted that “AI offers profound potential benefits and the opportunity to help tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues [such as] transforming healthcare”
Secondly, new technologies will empower patients to take greater control over their own health. Technologies such as virtual patient communities, health tracking apps and text advice mean that patients are more informed than ever before and have greater, easier access to healthcare information. The introduction of mHealth to rural Vietnamese communities highlights the empowering nature of technology for healthcare.
Thirdly, new technologies can transform how diseases are managed. Technological developments mean diseases will be diagnosed earlier and patients will be provided with more targeted treatment. In addition preventative campaigns can be transformed through the use of technology such as drones.
New and emerging technologies present opportunities for healthcare to be redefined and the healthcare business model to be redefined.
However, healthcare and health goals depend on a variety of other factors to ensure their success and progress, such as: access to education, equality, peace and justice.
Aid & International Development Forum’s Innovator of the Year Award recognises the inspiring work of many development professionals, including those in healthcare. The award will be presented at the Aid & Development Summit Africa on 27 February 2018.
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Image credit: Living Goods