Why Patients Should Get Used to Seeing More Technology in the Doctor’s Office

Do you remember your first ever visit to a doctor’s office? The average person will most likely only recall writing their name on the check-in list before filling out a few forms and waiting for their name to be called. Fast forward to 2018, where in most countries having a smartphone is almost synonymous to breathing, and now try to recall your last visit to your physician. You might’ve checked in using an iPad, maybe you made the appointment through one of the countless medical apps or online portals available, or maybe you scheduled it through a direct text service.

 

The bottom line is that medicine, like many industries before it, continues to evolve and adapt technology in a way to make treatments more efficient and convenient for patients. Medical practitioners must now understand that today’s generation is one that has become accustomed to the convenience of having nearly everything at the palm of their hands, ready on-the-go.

For most older people who are still tied to past communication methods, there is a huge discrepancy between what they used to see at the doctor’s office to what we all encounter now, and what we can expect to see in the future. But this, however daunting it may seem to some, is a good thing because innovation through technology will bring better patient outcomes and provide a more optimal care.

Technology gives more power back to the patient

Middle-aged and older adults weren’t raised surrounded by technology and on-the-go innovations like the younger generations that followed – thus, they aren’t as apt to welcome the use of machines when dealing with their own health. Machines can be intimidating if you don’t know how to use them, but what patients are seeing is that technologycan actually empower to enhance their care.

For instance, patients that have gone through the trauma of suffering a life-changing accident or stroke and have lost either considerableor full mobility, now have the chance to regain the functionality they’ve lost utilizing technology advancements like neuro-rehabilitation robotics, or mobility-assisting technology like exoskeletons. Years ago, those with mobility issues were left bedridden and those with arm weakness were put in a sling and taught to simply use their unaffected arm. Soon after canes and walkers provided some relief, and eventually gave way to wheelchairs and motorized scooters as a more freeing (albeit clunky) way to get around.

Now we’re seeing exoskeleton models and gait training devices (like the Morning Walk by Curexo) that offer assistance and the ability to rehabilitate, enabling patients who were once told they may never walk again to literally make strides on their road to recovery – providing the mobility and independence they once had. InMotion Robots by Bionik Laboratories (InMotion ARM, WRIST, and ARM-HAND) provide a rehabilitation solution for the arm, putting neuro-recovery within reach for those patients with arm weakness, reduced range of motion, or poor coordination during activities of daily living. Mainstream voice activation systems such as Amazon’s Alexa have even begun to be integrated as a complimentary function in these systems to provide an even richer feature set.

Bridging the gap between recovery at home and at clinics

Technology also eases the way patients that have gone through a severe medical procedure can go about rehabilitation of their injuries. Common injuries such as an ACL tear, shoulder dislocation, or carpal tunnel dysfunction, amongst others, can now be rehabbed in the comfort of the home.

For more severe or long-term therapy needs, patients often would have to travel long distances to see a specialist. But now rehabilitation robotic technologies can be implemented at any medical facility in the world, providing world class care in a convenient location for more patients. Emerging technologies from Bionik, such as the InMotion HOME for the arm, will allow patients to receive intensive, effective, and individualized therapy.


Bionik’s development of an exoskeleton for home use will eventually provide an alternativesolution to walking aides for a wide range of adults with diminishing mobility, pain, or reduced strength associated with aging.

Advancements in rehabilitation robotic technologies provide innovative assistance as needed therapy with completely new industrial designs that are sleek, easy for both the patient and clinician to use, and more practical and compact to fit in rehabilitation centers. The precise, repeatable, and objective evaluation tools can measure and track a patient’s progress to a level of accuracy that us humans simply cannot replicate. The ability to generate reports and employ individualized, challenging therapy protocols with regular patient feedback ultimately reduces the demands on clinical staff and provides more effective patient care.

Other devices such as Diabetes PA promises to revolutionize the way patients keep track of their conditions. This app allows for the user to monitor and more importantly, see the interactions between their own blood glucose, insulin, mood, HbA1c and numerous other vital levels.

Accepting technology as it comes

Like anything, the main goal of innovation is to improve outcomes, efficiency, and the quality of service delivery. In medicine, this means adopting technology and utilizing it in a way that provides better treatment for patients, is cost efficient for providers, and is more convenient for all. As medical professionals, we should all be excited about the prospect of enhanced patient care and providing a level of service never seen before through advancements in technology. As patients, we should be confident knowing that clinicians are continuing to develop and strive for better, more patient centered, and efficient care solutions.Together with technology, it is possible.

 

About Eric Dusseux
Dr. Eric Dusseux is the CEO of Bionik Laboratories, Inc., a robotics company focused on providing rehabilitation and assistive technology solutions to individuals with neurological and mobility challenges from hospital to home.

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