Global Health Blogs with Professor Swahn

Student Reflections on Topics Covered in our Class

Global Health Blogs with Professor Swahn

Technology Can Change the World and Global Health!

November 19, 2020 · No Comments · Technology, Uncategorized

Technology has changed significantly and how technology relates to healthcare has also drastically changed over the past two decades. As everyone is aware, the use of technology in everyday healthcare has drastically changed over the past year. In current healthcare, it is nearly impossible to run a hospital or medical office without the use of technology. Patient charts and records are now all electronic, diagnostic tools such as CAT scan, MRI, ultrasound, and x-rays are connected to computers and sometimes even cell phones in order to deliver the images, smart watches that track health indicators are commonly used, and vaccinations and other life saving drugs are readily available (but sometimes expensive) across the world. But technology has the ability to change more than just healthcare practices. The advances in technology can also change the way people farm, travel between areas that previously have been inaccessible, and many other ways that have the potential to drastically change lives.

Since technology has become more accessible to people across the world, one would assume that healthcare technology has also increased around the world. Medical machines and equipment have become more affordable and transportable, increasing the diagnostic capabilities of doctors and other practitioners in lower income areas. It has also allowed for people to become more active in their health (mental and physical). Another example is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare. Artificial Intelligence has great potential for use in the healthcare world. From the most basic uses such as appointment and medication reminders on a phone or tablet to the use of robotics in hospitals/surgery centers. For other new and exciting information on some top new technology available in healthcare, check out this article. This article also mentions the new and upcoming use of virtual reality (VR) in healthcare. Some early uses of VR in healthcare have been through therapeutic methods such as in mental health and in physical therapy) and tours of not easily accessible places and facilities. 

Another article by Time (find it here), discusses some of the major health innovations that were expected to come out in 2020. Time notes that the world of public health is changing drastically and technology has played a major part in the changes that have and will occur. For example, drones are starting to be used in the transportation of medical supplies such as medications, blood for transfusions, and samples for lab testing. UPS and Wing have started using drones for medical deliveries in the United States and a company called Zipline is currently delivering medical supplies and other essential items to rural villages in Ghana and Rwanda. Another example is a portable, small ultrasound that was developed by Butterfly iQ. The ultrasound machine is less than an eighth of the cost of a traditional ultrasound machine and it connects to an iphone or ipad. The Gates Foundation is distributing the machines to 53 countries around the world who will greatly benefit from this diagnostic technology that is common in the United States. Routine scans with an ultrasound machine has the potential to be a great screening tool for doctors everywhere.


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