The first contact point for patients and basic elements of healthcare are general practitioners but, what’s their role in this digital tech revolution! Various survey-based researches have been conducted on medical industries across the globe on general physicians and their willingness to adopt the latest and innovative technologies in their daily medical practices. Let’s have a look at impact of digital technology on primary care and future potential.
A defining moment in Healthcare
With every passing moment, healthcare industry is experiencing a paradigm shift due to the coming of digital technologies. That being said, medicine is already taking a prominent shift from reactive to proactive discipline as per the latest trends and industry research. In fact, healthcare will become more personalised, participatory and preventive than ever! With help of digital technologies like sensors, wearable tech and remote diagnosis through smart doctor app, patient is the primary point of care rather than clinical laboratories, hospitals and many other medical facilities.
Then there’s the coming of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and nanotechnology, precision medicines and various targeted therapies puts patient in the centre of primary care instead of large populations. The very aim of precision medicine and these targeted treatments is a personalised approach as per individual patient’s health condition, anomaly and many other factors. Innovative tools, social media peer communities, access to online details and the data would allow patients in taking care of themselves continuously while at home, thus a more preventive approach to overall health.
General Physicians & Practitioners on the Frontline
When people think of healthcare, primary care physicians are the first point of contact or source. These individuals serving the industry have always been a bridge among the all the medicines in the market and the society. Since general practitioners are the one to meet most of the patient that include providing emergency medical services when needed, these are the people who actually serve on the frontline. This is perhaps the reason these individuals lack the time to experiment with latest and innovative technologies.
But, it doesn’t have to be this way as we can’t simply ignore technology which, when carefully and effectively utilised can benefit these individuals in many different things; opening up new possibilities in medical science that were previously considered mere sci-fi.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) concluded that the world today is lacking more or less 4.5 million physicians, allied health workers and nurses whereas equally, the need to quality healthcare service is rising. Contributing factors include various illnesses, communal diseases like obesity and diabetes are mounting in today’s ageing societies.
If properly employed, technology can prove to be an excellent tool for general practitioners while saving their time with many different daily practices and tasks. Consider a scenario in which future patients can refer to the medical chatbots, digital health apps and assistants with simple queries concerning their health, perhaps something about a specific drug/medicine or managing administrative matters.
Wearable devices and sensors today are able to stream data directly to a doctor’s smartphone, sending real-time alerts whenever vital signs acts abnormal as well as provide all necessary details for exceptional patient care. The technology can thus ensure doctors get to treat only those who’re in real need of imminent professional care with another possibility of offering remote diagnosis and treatment.
Acceptance of Digital Health Tech
The survey had certain limitations such as it represents only a subpopulation of general practitioners worldwide, who’re open to new technologies. Smartphone applications and social media are the two most popular mediums where respondents are found more active. Still, general physicians expressed their preference using these health sensors and telemedicine in near future. The survey also revealed that many of the sci-fi sounding techs such as Artificial Intelligence, Augmented/Virtual Reality are far from becoming a mainstream medical practice. Nevertheless, several psychological therapies are being conducted using VR and AR showing optimistic results.
Indeed, technology come with great benefits but the lack of willingness from the practitioners is due to vague guidelines, uncertainty of the results and concern over data security with every increasing cyber threats; remember the massive ransomware attack on NHS!