For years policymakers have struggled with how to improve the healthcare systems in Africa. The challenges have been immense and the lack of trained doctors and nurses, equipment, logistics, and even corruption have made it difficult to provide those who are most vulnerable with the care that they need.
However, things are starting to change and, in many ways, the transformation of healthcare systems around the world has nothing to do with government. Instead, changes are being driven by the combination of talented engineers the world over and the technology they produce.
Digital innovations has made it possible for healthcare service consumers to access medical information, monitor vital signs and carry out a wide range of medical tests via their portable devices. This was never possible some years back. That tells how much technological innovations is vastly disrupting the healthcare industry.
With that in mind, here are some of the way which technology is transforming healthcare in Africa.
Ways Innovation in Technology is Transforming Healthcare Systems in Africa
It used to be that people would die because there was no doctor in the area. At the same time, rural doctors tended to be overworked – especially during periods of conflict or disease outbreaks when the need for doctors peaked. But all of this is starting to change, thanks to technology.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled systems are helping doctors, nurses, and other care workers around the world to improve treatment, and outcomes, for patients. While much of the focus has been on high-profile studies in urban areas, AI is also making its way to the countryside.
In fact, developers are already in the process of rolling out AI-enabled solutions based on anonymous blockchains to make it possible to expand access to healthcare at a fraction of the cost when compared to more traditional solutions. The result is that at-risk populations can get the care they need when they need it, which will help to lower the total cost of healthcare systems in the developing world.
Intelligence Clinical Decision Support
Even though doctors are highly trained, no one doctor can know everything there is to know about medicine. In fact, the sure pace of clinical innovation makes it impossible for the best doctors to know of the latest and greatest treatment options.
Enter MD Guidelines. This is a software-centric approach to better clinical decisions by increasing access to the lasted in evidence-based treatment, allowing doctors everywhere to make the most of the latest breakthroughs in medicine.
Not only will this make life easier for doctors, many of who are overworked, but it will lead to better outcomes for patients everywhere. The result will be more agile healthcare systems, and this will help policymakers to better meet the needs of its citizens – especially as African nations rapidly develop.
Don’t Go to the Lab; Have the Lab Come to You!
While Theranos turned out to be the scam of the century, the reality is that many others are working on ways to use technology to decrease diagnostic costs and improve reliability. However, there are two competing approach – one which focuses on low-cost, high functionality devices, and the other which relies on drones to move samples back and forth.
At stake here is the view of the world, at least as it pertains to medical diagnostics. While the drones would help to support a highly-centralized ecosystem, the introduction of diagnostic devices and applications would lead to a round of decentralization and could revolutionize healthcare.
The reason is simple, even with drones, wait times and logistics are an issue related to transporting samples. While having low-cost devices installed in the field would allow doctors and nurses to conduct a slew of tests on site and without significant delays in performing the tests.
The shortened cycle team not only means less waiting, but it could also eliminate the need for patients to make a non-essential trip to their local doctor. This is especially important in rural areas where it could take hours to get to the nearest clinic.
Improved Working Conditions
One of the biggest challenges facing the healthcare system in Africa has been the exodus of skilled professionals to developed countries. This largely has to do with working conditions which are often stressful – even in the best of times.
As such, the integrations of technology solutions such as blockchain, AI, robotics, drones, and even specialized devices could make life easier for those whose job it is to look after our lives. The hope is that widespread implementation will stem the tide as skilled professionals choose to stay closer to home. The result would be more healthcare workers enjoying a better quality of life in their home countries.
Technology can make life’s better and when it comes to its integration with healthcare systems it is transforming healthcare systems everywhere – even in Africa. Just recently, USNews ran a post on several ways technology is transforming healthcare systems across the world. This emerging trend will not only change our lives for the better but will also help to ease many challenges facing policymakers for years.