When we think about innovative solutions in healthcare, the primary benefit that comes to mind is an improved quality of life. By reducing the treatment and recovery time, technologies like digital monitoring systems, state-of-the-art scanning equipment, surgeries with minimal invasion, etc., have undeniably improved the quality of life. As technology evolves, such solutions offer us an opportunity to live a healthy and productive life. As machines made their way into our lives, and we entered the age of digitization, hospitals and medical professionals started leveraging technological tools to offer efficient health services to people.
World of digital health
Digital health leverages technological tools to offer a comprehensive healing and wellness solution to people. Some of such tools include sensors that can be swallowed, gadgets to track critical readings, health applications that can be used on mobile phones, caregiving robots, medical imaging driven by technology, electronic records, etc. Here are a few benefits of digital health.
- Enables people to access and track their health-related information with ease
- Enables healthcare workers to manage the patient’s illness and risks more efficiently
- Offers a cost-efficient and effective way to provide services and long-term support to critically ill patients or those with chronic disorders
- A great way to monitor, track, and subsequently control chronic ailments
- Allows doctors to offer a customized treatment plan and medication to each patient based on his/her health data
- Helps people maintain or improve the quality of life by tracking specific health markers like blood pressure, heart rate, etc.
- Helps in early detection of new diseases and illnesses
- Timely detection of the worsening of existing ailments, etc.
Medical imaging becoming a top priority in the digital health space
In digital health, one field that has been gaining a lot of importance is medical imaging.
Medical imaging refers to technologies used to view the human body to diagnose, monitor, or treat medical conditions. It has changed the way medical experts and healthcare professionals look at and understand the human body.
If a doctor wants to diagnose a disease, he/she usually orders a diagnostic test like an x-ray, MRI, CAT scan, etc. While his/her knowledge and experience help him/her identify the ailment, medical imaging plays an essential role in the diagnosis process. It also helps the doctor decide regarding the line of treatment and an approximate time to recover. It offers a non-invasive internal view of the body that an external examination cannot provide. Once the doctor treats the patient, medical imaging can help him/her track the treatment’s progress and effectiveness.
In a nutshell, medical imaging helps doctors diagnose, create an efficient treatment plan, and follow the progress. Here are a few examples.
- Ultrasound imaging for expecting mothers. Doctors can get a clear picture of the baby’s health and growth in the womb. Doctors can identify issues early into the pregnancy.
- Helps in detecting some terminal diseases like breast cancer at a much early stage. A simple mammogram can help detect breast cancer and over the last three decades, has led to a substantial drop in fatalities because of the disease.
- Helps surgeons in complex surgical procedures. For instance, endoscopic sinus surgery is very complicated because of the extensive network of the sinus. However, with medical imaging, the surgeon can carefully examine the area before the procedure by taking a CT scan. This makes him better prepared to handle the delicate operation.
With the growth of technology, medical imaging technologies have been evolving too. The future belongs to medical professionals who can understand and use these technologies to offer improved and more comprehensive healthcare services. According to some reports, the global digital health market is expected to grow from US$144.2 billion in 2018 to over US$206 billion by 2020. Also, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to contribute a significant part to this rise.
While several factors are driving the medical imaging market, there are some roadblocks too. These include the high costs of innovative equipment, lack of trained personnel, etc. The healthcare segment is poised to grow over the next few years. Medical imaging is also expected to follow a parallel trend and integrate with other advancements in healthcare. A boom in the industry would also mean a subsequent increase in demand for professionals who can efficiently understand and manage these technologies. This may be the right time for the professionals working at the intersection of healthcare and technology to develop their capabilities in digital health and medical imaging and tap such opportunities.