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Technology is Transforming Healthcare

The healthcare industry is on the cusp of a revolution thanks to advancements in consumer-focused technologies

The longtime goal of using technology to curb the ever-increasing cost of healthcare is finally coming to fruition. Two examples of this that standout are recent developments made by IBM and Apple.

Typically, when physicians think of healthcare-focused technology, they tend to envision big MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machines, or tech-driven improvements in surgical procedures and medications. That’s understandable given doctors are devoted to fixing whatever ails their patients.

But a shift has occurred in the medical community in the last couple of years with respect to using inexpensive or less-expensive technologies proactively to provide preventative healthcare. That mindset shift is being driven by the revolution in consumer healthcare that’s taking place.

Individuals are becoming more cognizant of the benefits of living healthier lifestyles and in being responsible for monitoring and maintaining their own biostatistics (it has been said you are your own best doctor). That, in turn, is helping the healthcare cost curve to dip. Get this: Health and human services folks have been saying that inflation is no longer a major factor with respect to the cost of healthcare, and the projected costs for healthcare is actually going down.

Much of that is attributable to the fact that we as individuals have more insight into our own health thanks to the explosion in consumer-focused technologies. For instance, Apple’s smartwatch is built around the concept being able to monitor your blood pressure, heartbeat, and measure your level of physical activity. Devices like the Apple Watch then connect to a cloud with backend services that analyze your health data and provide you with tips on how to stay healthy.

Which brings me to the IBM Watson technology that is essentially ushering in a new era of computing that’s focused on various industries including healthcare. Big Blue is diving headlong into the world of healthcare analytics, and the vendor recently partnered with the Mayo Clinic and Epic, a provider of electronic health records systems. By using artificial intelligence for diagnostic purposes, IBM’s cloud-based platform can analyze and respond to clinical inquiries based on medical evidence.

And through its collaboration with companies like Apple and Fitbit, IBM is essentially democratizing access to your healthcare by putting that data in your own hands.

With so much emphasis put on consumer-focused healthcare, and top-tier tech firms like IBM and Apple helping drive that revolution, don’t be surprised to see the healthcare industry surpass others in inventive innovation through the use of cognitive work analysis in the coming months and years.

Alvarez Technology Group is the leading IT consulting firm for computer and business IT support throughout Monterey, Salinas, and the Bay Area. Give us a call at 866-784-8326 or email us at help@alvareztg.com.

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