A roundup of the most recent news stories from the health, technology and care sectors.
GP practices get free Wi-Fi for patients
Nearly 1000 GP practices will provide free Wi-Fi for patients, starting at the end of March 2017 as part of a national programme to improve the health service in England.
A group of twenty clinical commissioning groups will roll out free Wi-Fi for patients across their GP practices by the end of March. This is part of a national programme to implement free Wi-Fi across the whole of the NHS by 2019 in both primary and secondary care; with this development, patients in hospitals will be able to self-monitor their conditions using apps and mhealth technology.
This development has come after years of campaigning for free Wi-Fi for patients installed, particularly in hospitals.
The Smart Patch
Health-tracking sensors that stick to the skin are becoming more and more popular; especially those that can measure more variables than alternative wearable devices such as the Fitbit. These smart patches continuously scan the body and send data to a smartphone app that alerts people when an issue is found in their vital data.
As more consumers collect data on their own health, these wearable patches have the potential to transform the health care market, by helping to prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes.
How technology can control chronic illnesses
Technology will no doubt play an important role in addressing what seems like a lack of planning in the health sector for preventive health, especially through ehealth initiatives for chronic disease management programs. Health IT can enable opportunities for remote patient management and patient education, as well as providing a base for information sharing for patients with chronic conditions.
Acting as an enabler in controlling chronic diseases, technology increases patients’ compliance, aids personalised treatment and increases record portability. Numerous studies focused on long-term management of diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, have shown that when patients are engaged and actively participating in their own care, recovery rate and overall outcomes improve.
The artificial intelligence revolutionising healthcare
AI seems to be gaining more and more traction within the healthcare system. Last year, for example, it was reported that IBM Watson diagnosed a rare form of leukaemia in a patient when healthcare professionals had previously struggled to diagnose her. This particular cloud based AI is capable of analysing data of papers from all over the world and instantly extract the data it needs, much faster than humans are able to.
Technologies that use AI to mimic conversation with people and perform other tasks that would usually require human intelligence are becoming much more of a reality. One example of this can be found within the NHS itself; a mobile triage smartphone app that is currently being trialled is being used to guide patients naturally through their personal healthcare needs on a daily basis.