Global Health Blogs with Professor Swahn

Student Reflections on Topics Covered in our Class

Global Health Blogs with Professor Swahn

Let’s Get Technical in Global Health!!

November 19, 2020 · 2 Comments · Technology, Uncategorized

Public health is a constantly evolving field. As the environment continues to change, populations continue to grow, and society continues to evolve, humans adapt by creating new instruments to fit any new needs prevalent. Public health is a field whose mission is to protect the overall health of a community while improving the quality of life for those in the population.

Global health care trends survey | Deloitte InsightsTherefore, it is sensitive to the constant changes in the environment and tries to match the most pertinent needs in a given community. This is evident when reviewing policies and medical techniques that were valid twenty years ago and realizing that they have been replaced a few times over. As newer diagnoses and worsening epidemics become more prevalent, the public health sector reacts by implementing new research, new medical advancements, and new programs in an attempt to restore balance. However, in a world that is changing at a lightning fast pace, it can be difficult to maintain efforts necessary to bear the weight of necessary interventions placed for the population at risk. Technology helps to provide an opportunity to maintain the stability of health in the population while also creating solutions to issues that did not have a prior solution identified. Medical innovations, research, health information systems, and more sectors of digital technology in health all provide population with the opportunity to create a more sustainable and efficient future.

Technology in public health has provided ample opportunity towards the improvement of health access, efficiency, and quality. As the world continues to move towards digital innovations, one important resource technology has provided the public health sector with is the opportunity to increase access to healthcare. Some of the barriers that many patients faced when seeking medical attention from their provider included high costs, lack of transportation, and the inability to present to a provider’s office due to issues pertaining to their condition. As technology has advanced, providers have been able to communicate with patients Virtual Visits: Telehealth and Older Adults | National Poll on Healthy Agingthrough Telehealth networks, patient portals, and other online accessible options. Through these online platforms, patients have been able to discuss any concerns they are having with their provider without the hassle of physically presenting to the office building or hospital. This advancement has created more efficient health methods in which patients and providers have the opportunity to discuss any issues or worries without the pressure and time constraint. Telehealth methods have also been proven to reduce the cost of health care for some patients as these visits often cost $40-$50 vs the $136-$176 in-person care can average (Yamamoto, 2014).  

Another way in which technology has been an increasingly beneficial tool in the public health sector includes the advancements made in medicine and medical innovations. As the world continues to evolve, so do illnesses and other chronic ailments that plague the population. Diseases, such as the chicken pox, that used to be responsible for multiple hospitalizations and deaths in the population each year are now considered “curable” with easy and accessible solutions. It is extremely prevalent that the future of medicine relies heavily on technological advancements that can provide cures to chronic diseases, such as cancer, as well as other tools to serve patients in the fastest, highest quality, and least expensive manners possible. Technology has the ability to provide the means for  providers to practice medicine more efficiently, effectively, and intelligently through tools such as virtual reality. Apple Watch Series 4's ECG Feature Will Work Internationally When Set to U.S. Region - MacRumorsFurthermore, technological advancements in medicine have not only assisted professionals in the medical community, but have also improved patient’s lives. As devices, such as Apple Watches and Fitbits, are created to track fitness goals, there are certain functions that allow the average person to monitor certain vitals like heart rate and heart rhythm. These innovations are important as they allow a patient to be more active in their healthcare, which can lead to a decrease in the incidence of chronic diseases. As the world continues to grow and change, the future of medicine is heavily reliant on technology in order to create the best possible outcomes for those around the world.

Although technology has become an extremely important and crucial aspect in healthcare, there are still many barriers in low- and middle-income countries that prevent them from reaping the benefits. Many communities in low- and middle-income countries often miss out on the benefits that technological advancements in public health provide due to the fragmented digital health landscape they maintain. In these countries, one of the issues preventing the benefits these technologies provide include the variation of technology and interests of the public and private sectors within each respective country. These sectors are often found to be working separately and often do not have the support of the government to invest in such advancements. Furthermore, if advancements in technology are permitted in which patients can use Telehealth methods through mobile devices, the quality of care they are provided is still lacking due to barriers in funding. As a lack of funding and government support prevents the use of certain effective technologies in the public health sector, the populations in low- and middle-income countries are continuously plagued with preventable diseases and a lack of treatment options.

Overcoming the barriers to greater use of mobile technology in healthcare

Technology in the public health sector has become one of the most important tools in creating a healthier tomorrow. As the world continues to grow, technology is only going to continue to rise in new, life-saving interventions for populations globally. Therefore, I believe that it is especially important for low- and middle-income populations to obtain the funding and assistance necessary to provide technological advancements to their communities. As a global nation, we have a responsibility to one another to lend a helping hand to those in dire need. If the world wants to accomplish the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals by the year 2030, we need to chip in for our neighbors sake. Health is not an individual field. Public health is sensitive to the environment and is dependent on a series of factors in order to thrive. Thus, the status of health in our world is dependent on one another to rise above any barriers and find the best course of action to create a healthier tomorrow for each and every person in our global community.

Strategies and Considerations for Improving Global Healthcare - Medical Bag



  • ubhatt1

    Such a good read, especially when you mentioned that we all need to rise above every barrier for better healthcare for one and all!

  • tbutler38

    Very good read, my favorite point is that you highlighted the barriers for low- and middle- income countries.

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