What’s SaMD? 7 Healthcare Technology Terms You Should Know
Healthcare Technology Terms You Should Know – Most industries have their own terminology that can be hard for an outsider to understand. When the industry moves as fast and is as influenced by new technology as the medical industry is, then things can really get confusing. In many industries, this doesn’t matter to the general public much. If you don’t know how the machines work that manufacture your TV, you can still enjoy your favorite movie or show without a problem.
The healthcare industry is a little different though. Nothing is as personal and important as our health. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals need to know all the newest tech and terms in the industry, but patients can benefit a great deal from understanding this too. Understating the tech terms the healthcare industry uses gives greater knowledge and control over health and healthcare.
These terms may seem very complicated at first but when you understand what they really are, they shouldn’t be that intimidating. In fact, much of the technology you find in healthcare is not that different from common tech items you may find around your home or office. To help demystify some of the most important tech in healthcare, here are seven healthcare technology terms you should know.
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the world of internet-connected objects. These objects can communicate data and be controlled remotely, making life more convenient and efficient. IoT technology allows for all types of remote patient monitoring. Doctors can monitor overall vitals, heart rate, glucose levels, and much more. Giving healthcare professionals access to this information in real-time improves health care outcomes across the industry.
This technology is rapidly being adopted in the healthcare industry and will make an even bigger impact in the coming years. It is also technology that most people are familiar with and use on a regular basis. A virtual assistant like Alexa or a smart doorbell camera or thermostat are all common examples of IoT.
Telehealth refers to the delivery method of healthcare services. If these services – whether they are education, information services, or actual care – are delivered through a telecommunication portal, that is telehealth. Telehealth has been growing for a few years now but the COVID-19 pandemic supercharged this healthcare technology.
With in-person visits being risky during the pandemic, telehealth solutions were implemented to help keep medical professionals and patients safe while still giving and receiving care. Chatting with your doctor via a Zoom-like technology is here to stay. It is less expensive and allows doctors to see more patients. It also gives access to healthcare to those who might not otherwise have it.
Software as a medical device (SaMD) is any software that works as a medical device independently of any other medical device. According to Orthogonal, software as a medical device (SaMD) has grown considerably in the past several years. This technology is helping make healthcare more efficient, more portable, and more precise for healthcare professionals.
For patients, it is giving them access to powerful medical devices that have never been available to the public. It allows patients to take control of their own care and send doctors real-time information to help produce better outcomes. An app on your phone that calculates medicine doses based on your vital signs or one that uses your smartphone’s mic to detect irregular breathing while sleeping are two examples of SaMD
X Reality (XR) is the catch-all term for virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR). All these technologies give people access to some level of virtual world either separate from or mixed with our real world. These digital realities, mostly known by the public as tech for simulators (VR) or video games like Pokemon GO (AR), have many uses in the medical world.
They can be used as training devices to make doctors better and keep people safe or help treat a range of mental and physical health issues. VR is even being used to help treat chronic pain, while AR can overlay an x-ray on a patient to make surgeons more accurate. This is still a developing technology that should improve in the coming years and, with that, so will the number of applications in healthcare.
AI and ML
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are two technologies where computers are designed to think and learn like human beings. When you combine the ability to “reason” with the computing power of a machine, you get technology that can do amazing things in the healthcare industry. Examples range from chatbots that can walk a patient through an appointment and make simple diagnoses based on symptoms to medical devices that can analyze MRIs and pick up signs of lung cancer before a human doctor can.
Most people think of cryptocurrency when they hear the word blockchain but there are uses in the healthcare field for this technology as well. Blockchain is a secure ledger of information and transactions. In 2021, the security of our health records is a huge concern and blockchain may be the most effective way to keep this information secure. This would create unhackable records of our health information and give patients and trusted doctors the only key to access them.
Electronic health records (EHR) are powerful information management systems that medical facilities are using to store and track people’s medical records. All the information that was once kept on paper charts can now be stored electronically. This enables the information to be more secure and allows it to be easily and quickly transferred between different doctors and specialists so that they can collaborate on the best course of treatment. If you use a CRM at work such as Salesforce or HubSpot, those are similar to EHR systems.
Technology is constantly reshaping the healthcare industry. In just the last few years, as you can see above, the tech advancements in healthcare have reshaped the possibilities and expectations of patient care. While some of this technology and terminology might seem daunting, much of it is very similar to the technology in our everyday life. It’s being used in healthcare to help medical professionals and improve outcomes for patients while often making our lives easier and more convenient too.
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