How Technology Has Changed Healthcare

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Technology drives change in every industry, especially healthcare. New lab techniques are offering faster turnaround times for common tests, and research for treating the most serious diseases is progressing. The industry continues to find new ways to utilize computers as well. With the government offering incentives to health systems that transition to Electronic Health Records (EHR), the coordination of care is becoming a top priority for many of the nation’s leading healthcare networks. These new technologies and techniques are pushing the industry towards truly personalized medicine. Genomics, once thought of as the unattainable ideal, is poised to utilize all of these elements in order to maximize quality of care.

In this transitional period the healthcare industry has adopted new standards. Many studies are done within the field in order to measure the effectiveness of various aspects of care. This is how standards of care are determined, or deficiencies in practice assessed and dealt with. New technology is often used to achieve these jumps in quality of care. For example, physicians have known for decades that preventative medicine saves lives as well as reduces treatment costs. Doctors are always looking for a way to implement new, effective forms of preventative care while remaining cost-effective. Using population health statistics, certain standards of care have been widely adopted: men over 40 undergo digital prostate exams, annual mammograms for women, and prescribing blood pressure medication alongside lifestyle changes for patients with high blood pressure, to name only a few. While genetic testing will supplant this kind of broad preventative treatment, this does serve to illustrate how and why new standards are adopted.

Not all new standards are treatment based. EHRs have been found to increase positive clinical outcomes by keeping better track of the health statistics of any given system’s patients. A good EHR enables the patient’s information to be reviewed, changed, shared and updated with much less hassle than a paper-based system. Digital records can also empower patients to take an active role in their care. Many cutting-edge facilities, such as the Mayo Clinic, have released mobile apps that allow patients to schedule appointments and securely access personal health information. Health-centered apps are a growing trend in the industry, and yet another area genomics can make an impact. While EHR integration certainly raises standards of care, it is not truly personalized medicine. This is where genomics comes in.

Technology drives genomics, making it uniquely suited to integrate into this modern healthcare landscape. Raw sequenced data is essentially code that must be stored digitally to have any utility. That digital information then must be interpreted and analyzed through a series of algorithms to determine potential impact on health. Because genomics already operates in a digital space, the healthcare industry’s transition to EHRs makes implementing genomics a logical next step for any modern practice. Genomics is the ultimate form of personalized medicine; nothing gets more personal than your own unique set of genes. Research has been advancing genomics for decades, and now the healthcare industry as a whole is finally ready to implement genomic medicine in mainstream practice. New Amsterdam Genomics continues to drive this ongoing integration.

-Josh

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