As another World Health Day goes by, it is imperative that one looks into the key initiatives and advancements in the healthcare industry. In this article, we explore how technologies from around the world are influencing the healthcare sector from social good perspective.
Access to basic healthcare services is insufficient still in socially secluded parts. Poverty still renders medical bills unaffordable to some and general know-how surrounding healthcare in secluded sections is also a concern. To summarise, the accessibility, quality, and affordability of healthcare services are three major issues that need focus globally.
To solve these issues, World Health Organisation(WHO) has already initiated the Universal Health Coverage(UHC) with the theme ‘Everyone, Everywhere’. It means all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without suffering the financial hardship. Some of the key facts of UHC reveals, at least half of the world’s population do not have full coverage of essential healthcare services, 100 million people are pushed to extreme poverty, and over 800 million people spend at least 10 percent of household budgets to pay health bills.
Throughout 2018, WHO has decided to inspire, motivate, and guide UHC stakeholders to make commitments towards UHC.
On the other hand, technology also had a role to play in transforming the health sector for social good. It has a wider potential to solve issues and provide solutions to the basic and complex healthcare. Here we introduce some technologies that can help healthcare sector stakeholders in achieving UHC commitments.
Artificial Intelligence: A few years ago Artificial Intelligence(AI) was a relatively fictional concept, but today it’s a reality that provides solutions for different issues. Adoption of AI, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning Algorithms into healthcare will benefit patients, doctors, and stakeholders overall. Reading and Analysis of complex health data will get automated to fasten the health services. AI and its smart algorithms power-up detecting and diagnosing diseases. This will help in minimizing the cost of treating chronic diseases.
Blockchain: Blockchain is an open, shared, and immutable digital ledger that records peer-to-peer transactions of its users. It has a greater potential to innovate for different industries, and healthcare is one of them. Use of Blockchain in the health sector will lead to accurate diagnosis, more effective treatment, and cost-effective care. Due to the transparency and autonomous features of Blockchain, health management gets simplified and health data gets secured.
Drones: Inclusion of military technology Drones into the healthcare sector is a good sign for rural and remote areas. Drones will speed up the delivery of medication to any part of the world as fast as an ambulance. Drones could also potentially carry defibrillators to heart attack victims faster than an ambulance. If any disasters take place, then Drones technology would be the best method to send aid to victims.
Internet of Things(IoT): It is estimated that by 2020, there will be more than 20 billion connected devices. So, the Internet of Things(IoT) widens its wings across the globe to offer social innovation. IoT will take us closer to the vision of health to everyone and everywhere. It will improve the quality and efficiency of treatments in medical centers located in remote areas. Applications like remote monitoring, remote medical aid, simultaneous reporting and monitoring, tracking and alerts, etc., are the possible solutions in healthcare using IoT.
As a whole, technology-enabled healthcare services widens accessibility, affordability, and quality services. In near future it could pave the way to healthcare for all.