|September 2019 Volume 17, Number 9|
Technology's Growing Importance in Providing Quality Health Care
Whenever you sign up for a new group health care benefit plan for your company or receive communications from your insurance carrier about new benefits, there's a good chance the insurer is using technology to provide you with better service.
Insurers previously used technology to manage only the claims process and settle payments with providers. Today, technology can do so much more. Here are just a few ways insurers and the health care industry are using technology to save members money while improving the level of health care:
According to research advisory firm ABI Research, artificial intelligence (AI) applications will save the global health care sector an estimated $52 billion by 2021. AI refers to software-driven systems that analyze data to make decisions and take actions. Some ways AI may affect health care this year:
Technology can address consumer frustrations by providing easy access to information about benefits and member claims, and schedule health care appointments in a timely manner.
Nanomedicine is the medical application of nanotechnology to diagnose, treat and prevent various diseases by delivering medicine precisely to the place it's needed and in a manner that limits unwanted side effects. For instance, instead of treating cancer with chemotherapy that affects the entire body, nanomedicine delivers the chemotherapy directly to the tumor while minimizing exposure to the rest of the patient's body.
Surgeons now have access to tools featuring cameras and mechanical arms, which give them a high-definition view of the surgical site. According to the Mayo Clinic, these tools increase precision, reduce the chances of infections and are minimally invasive, which can result in smaller scars.
There are four core uses of 3D printing in the medical field. 3D printing is used to create:
One of the reasons 3D printing is becoming popular is the customizable aspect of the technology. 3D printing can even be used to produce realistic skin for burn victims.
Many health care institutions are already using virtual reality (VR) to assist in a variety of situations because it can provide a multi-sensory, immersive experience. VR currently is being used in the following settings:
For example, VR is being used to help stroke patients practice and relearn daily activities. The VR health care services market is expected to grow from $8.9 million in 2017 to $285 million in 2022.