How software is transforming the medical sector

Clever software systems, wearable technology and health apps are changing the face of the medical sector, for the better.

These advancements in software and integrated information technology is transforming medical industries across the world, allowing them to accurately collect and analyse patient data, and operate more efficiently.

According to the report Australia's health 2016—in brief, $155 billion was spent on health in Australia in 2013-14, up by 3.1% from the previous year. The Australian health sector includes more than 1,300 hospitals, employs about 385,000 nurses, midwives and medical practitioners, and provides a diverse range of services.

With increasing demands and expenditure on health services, software could offer the solutions to create innovative ways for medical practitioners to treat and care for patients.

Here are some ways that software is transforming the medical sector:

Mobile applications for better health

In the age of mobile, it’s not surprising to hear about how mobile technology and applications are being used in clinical settings. This has become increasingly popular among remote and rural communities where access to fixed-line internet may be limited.

According to the Australian Government’s Digital Health report, some examples of mobile applications used in the Australian health sector include:

  • Home-based cardiac rehabilitation programs that use mobile phones to upload physiological and lifestyle data which is then used in voice and video consultations with medical practitioners
  • Wireless health monitoring systems for cardiac, respiratory and diabetes management, designed for use at home or in doctors’ offices
  • Sydney’s George Institute for Global Health is investigating ways of using mobile technology in healthcare delivery, such as the FoodSwitch app, which allows consumers to scan food labels and find the healthiest choices.

Inoutput created the mobile app Dance Break which allows people to join a daily dance break simultaneously with other users of the app. The app, commissioned by No Lights No Lycra (NLNL), notifies users that a dance session is coming up and plays an energising track that thousands of people could dance to at the same time, regardless of their time zone or location.

The Dance Break app was designed with the intention to get people more active, and was supported with government funding from VicHealth.

Medical Apps Wearables

Wearable tech ‘transforming healthcare sector’

An increasing number of wearable gadgets, enabled by software, are helping people to stay active, sleep well, eat better and lead a healthier lifestyle.

Wearable medical technology is also giving patients a new way to capture and monitor health information and share it with their doctors.

This technology includes wristbands, watches, headbands, necklaces and skin-worn patches, among other devices.

One wearable patch can non-invasively monitor diabetes by using human sweat to analyse glucose levels and then administer drugs to combat the disease.

Another is the renowned Fitbit, a digital pedometer that uploads the wearer’s physical activity data online or via a mobile app. The device, commonly worn on the wrist like a watch, tracks steps, distance, calories burned, and can also be worn at night to monitor sleep.

There’s also Lark, a silent alarm clock and sleep monitor that tracks and examines a person’s sleep, what they eat, when and how much they exercise, then uses that data to help the wearer make better decisions about their health.

The 2014 Smart Wearable Healthcare Report by Soreon Research describes the rise of wearable technology as the beginning of “deep transformation in the healthcare sector” as it would drive a shift from disease treatment to prevention and encourage increased personalisation of medical care, instead of the one-size-fits-all approach.

By the year 2020, the wearable medical device market is estimated to be worth US $41 billion, the report said.

Medical Apps Working On A Computer System

Software programs offer smart solutions

New software programs are being created to assist in the planning and delivery of healthcare services including patient flow applications, where software can predict how many patients will arrive at an emergency department or statistical surveillance can detect outbreaks of influenza and other diseases.

The Australian eHealth Research Centre has developed a flexible surgical simulation software platform called MILXSim, which provides high-performance rendering and simulation capabilities. It forms the basis for the CSIRO’s colonoscopy simulator as well as the interactive 3D image analysis tool, Vulture.

‘Smart software’ also exists to analyse reports and medical images for diagnosis and treatment, the Australian Government’s Digital Health report says. Some software has allowed for various clinical advancements such as:

  • Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and several cancers
  • Automatic image enhancement and organ mapping technology. This helps surgeons plan radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer patients, while saving time and imaging costs, and potentially reducing tissue damage and radiation exposure for patients
  • Quantitative imaging tools for extracting high-quality data from images, with applications that include:
    • imaging virus entry into cells
    • profiling stem cells
    • tracing neurites in brain cells affected by Alzheimer’s disease
    • retinal imaging and detecting breast cancer.

Creating custom software for the medical sector

Inoutput is an experienced software development company that has the knowledge and expertise to create functional, user-friendly software systems, apps and business automation solutions for the medical sector.

There is still plenty of room for improvement when it comes to implementing and using data in Australia’s medical sector. The Australia's health 2016 report states that three key findings included the need to improve the quality of data available in many areas, the need for new data in some areas and the need to better utilise some of the available data.

With a proven track record in data strategy, software production and creating integrations for legacy systems, inoutput can contribute to the betterment of software and IT solutions for the medical industry.

Contact us today to find out how we can streamline workflows, improve efficiencies and create custom solutions for medical workplaces. Phone (03) 9016 3066 or send us details via our contact form.