Dr. Marcus Welby would be hard-pressed to recognize today’s modern medical practice. Forty years ago, the good doctor’s most useful medical tools seemed to be an agile mind, a warm smile and an uncanny amount of common sense. Of course, personal computers were still in their infancy when Robert Young portrayed America’s favorite family doctor with homespun charm on ABC’s long-running series Marcus Welby, M.D.
Today, physicians use a host of tech tools to diagnose and treat their patients. The ubiquitous black bag that used to be a physician’s hallmark has been replaced by smartphones and tablets. Paper records have been replaced by digital files stored in the cloud and accessed by mobile devices. Technology is revolutionizing health care and transforming the way physicians work.
“From leveraging big data to tapping into social networking, the same industry that introduced Facebook and Angry birds is now turning its attention to how technology can be applied to keep people healthy,” Forbes.com opined earlier this year. Forbes cited 5 critical ways technology is changing the way doctors manage patient care:
1. Using big data to crunch billions of data points is helping physicians develop better diagnoses and treatments.
2. Using HIPAA-compliant secure message apps to protect patient privacy, smartphones and tablets are allowing doctors to communicate more quickly and effectively with patients.
3. Secure message apps for doctor-to-doctor mobile communications is encouraging collaborative patient care.
4. Nurse telephone triage services are increasing patient access to speedy, knowledgeable and reliable medical advice and decreasing unnecessary office visits.
5. Doctors are using digital gadgets and mobile apps to encourage healthy patient behaviors.