If you could pick just one aspect your daily life to improve with mobile technology, what would you choose? Stronger social connections? A better commuting experience? More targeted entertainment? Research suggests that this is how most of us are using mobile technology. Social networking apps, including Facebook and Instagram, consistently outrank others in the number of downloads, and some reports show that navigation tools like Google Maps and Uber follow closely behind. As awesome as these tools are, we think there should be a better answer: we should be harnessing mobile technology to improve our health.
Why Technology in Healthcare Matters
As our population ages, our health concerns are becoming more complicated and more numerous. This raises challenges on multiple levels: for patients who have trouble gaining access to healthcare because of long wait times or limited mobility, and for healthcare professionals who need to become instant experts to diagnose increasingly complex and inter-connected symptoms. We’re also learning more about what people really need in order to take better control of their health. Often, the first thing they need is information and resources — things that should be easy to find, but that are increasingly difficult to access in healthcare. However, that information doesn’t have to be delivered in traditional ways just because that’s what we’re used to. Technology is moving faster, and healthcare needs support to catch up. Leveraging technology can ease the burden on many fronts.
Why Technology in Healthcare Works
Healthcare is no longer the exclusive domain of doctors and specialists who used to serve as the custodians of knowledge in their fields. Patients have access to more information than ever before, and holistic medicine is bringing together people with different expertise. Technology is breaking down silos in the medical community. We are learning that we can’t expect individual healthcare professionals to be experts at everything. With the right support, healthcare experts can also generate technology-based ideas on how to improve patient care. We just need to bring those experts together with experts in technology, to get the right information to the places where it’s needed. In fact, it’s already happening. New health technology start-ups are on the rise, and local health hack-a-thons are turning into global events. Taking a multi-disciplinary approach expands the conversation to generate ideas and solutions that one person would have difficulty developing on their own. The results are just the beginning of what we can do, if we turn our minds to it.
Why Health + Tech = Different
The need for medical specialists certainly won’t disappear. In healthcare, the stakes are high. Nurses, doctors, technicians, and other healthcare professionals make tremendous investments in their education so they can provide the best possible care. Technology-based healthcare solutions deserve the same high standards, whether it’s for an application to improve patient flow through a clinic, a mobile app to connect citizens with a family physician, or a dynamic algorithm to support disease diagnoses. The opportunities are limited only by our imaginations, and our willingness to engage with other experts who bring real value to the table. Interested in learning more about tech in healthcare? Find out when the next Hacking Health event is happening near you, or contact us to see how you can bring innovation to healthcare in your community.