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Apply digitalization to reduce medical risks in developing regions

by Ana Lopez
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CEO of New field technologieswith 20 years of experience leading major transformation projects in healthcare and human services.

Even in the current information age, with significant advances in technology, we continue to face significant medical risks worldwide. The Covid-19 pandemic was a very real example of this with the challenges we faced globally in responding properly to it. More broadly, medical risks come in many forms and can have a significant impact on individuals, communities and entire nations.

Over the past four years, our company has had the opportunity to do important work in healthcare, particularly in the Caribbean, where our digital health platform is now in use in 27 healthcare facilities, some of which we have implemented in partnership with the Telecommunication Services of Trinidad and Tobago.

This has given us insight into the challenges facing healthcare organizations and the continued prevalence of medical risks impacting people’s lives. In developing regions such as the Caribbean, these risks are often exacerbated by a lack of access to quality healthcare, inadequate infrastructure and limited resources.

One of the biggest medical risks in the Caribbean is the prevalence of infectious diseases. This was exemplified during the Covid-19 pandemic, which hit the Caribbean hard, with many countries reporting a high number of cases. The spread of infectious diseases is often exacerbated by lack of access to health care and limited resources for testing and treatment.

Another major medical risk in the Caribbean is the high rate of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. These conditions are often related to lifestyle factors such as poor diet and lack of exercise and can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. In addition, chronic diseases place a heavy burden on healthcare systems as they require ongoing treatment and management.

Proper use of technology to provide effective digitization can reduce some medical risks in developing regions such as the Caribbean. A major challenge facing the region is the correct implementation of electronic health records (EHRs). Unfortunately, most patient records are kept on paper, and the few healthcare facilities that have begun to digitize simply scan paper medical records as images, which cannot be analyzed, searched, or processed electronically, nor are they user-friendly for both patients and medical staff. practitioners.

The widespread adoption of EHRs is a major technological advancement for the region, as it can lay the foundation for the adoption of multiple complementary technologies that can benefit patients and medical professionals.

One of the technologies enabling EHRs is telemedicine, one of the key ways digitalization can help reduce health risks. Telemedicine allows doctors and patients to communicate remotely, reducing the need for in-person visits and therefore the risk of exposure to infectious diseases such as Covid-19. This technology allows patients to consult healthcare providers from the comfort of their own homes. It also enables healthcare providers to reach patients in remote or underserved areas where there is internet access and devices are available to connect.

EHRs are essential to telemedicine because doctors and physicians can only effectively treat remotely and coordinate a patient’s care if they have access to their medical records. This is possible with easy-to-use and interoperable EHRs that can securely capture and share medical information with the patient and the various healthcare organizations that may treat the patient.

If implemented correctly, these digital records can also improve the accuracy and accessibility of patient information, reduce the risk of medical errors and improve the efficiency of care. EHRs also make it easier for healthcare providers to share patient information, which can help improve patient outcomes.

Wearable technology, such as fitness trackers and smartwatches, can also help individuals monitor their health and identify potential health risks. These devices can track a person’s activity levels, heart rate, and sleep patterns, providing valuable insights into a person’s overall health. Wearable technology also becomes truly effective when integrated with EHRs, enabling healthcare providers to access real-time data and quickly respond to changes in a patient’s condition.

Remote monitoring is another way digitalization can help reduce health risks. Digital technology integrated with EHRs can enable remote monitoring of patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, enabling healthcare providers to respond quickly to changes in a patient’s condition and reduce the risk of complications. This can help improve patient outcomes and reduce the need for hospital visits.

Digitization can also automate repetitive tasks and reduce human error, which can help improve patient safety. Automated systems can improve healthcare efficiency, freeing healthcare providers to focus on delivering high-quality care to patients. Artificial intelligence-based diagnostic tools can analyze data in EHRs to help clinicians diagnose health problems and identify potential health risks in order to treat patients in a timely manner.

Finally, digitization can play an important role in reducing medical risks. Telemedicine, wearable technology, remote monitoring and automated systems are just a few examples of how digitization can improve patient outcomes when brought together by a comprehensive EHR, serving as a foundational platform to enable and enable effective digitization. As technology advances, digitalization will become increasingly important for improving healthcare, especially in developing regions such as the Caribbean, where it is important to make efficient use of the limited resources available.

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