I know these words have been uttered countless times this past year, but the global pandemic has revealed the need for improvements in the healthcare industry. Now, while this topic is vast and could blanket this entire blog for over a year, instead I wanted to focus on one current issue: electronic health record (EHR) machines.

EHR machines are programmed systems that house, sort, and extrapolate data on patients in the healthcare system. This is accomplished using artificial intelligence and automation. While you may be tempted to imagine a scenario where the inpatient at a hospital is greeted by a robot circa Will Smith’s 2004 film “I, Robot”, the reality is much less gunfire and car chases. Instead, imagine a system where a patient is picked up by an ambulance and once the paramedics identify the patient’s health number, they immediately have access to every bit of health data this person has ever collected. But it does not stop there. The system would be smart enough to flag information to the paramedics on existing or suspected medical conditions, or allergies to medication, or their risk for certain procedures. All this information available from a simple number input. Whereas the current system relies heavily on correspondence between various independent health records and acts like more of a filing cabinet than an active and evolving system designed to pre-emptively assist the healthcare workers.

The benefits of this type of system would include cost savings to the healthcare industry, reduced hospitalization visits by quicker diagnoses, improved remote healthcare monitoring, and early disease detection, among others. In addition, the system could also include interactive abilities by the patients themselves. For example, a patient could opt into a program which allows the system to monitor daily heartrate, blood pressure, insulin (if at risk for diabetes), and possibly metrics to help detect early-stage cancers. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, two of the top 5 reasons for hospitalization in Canada are heart failure and heart attacks. It may be possible for these new EHR machines and health tracking to detect the early signs of heart problems and avoid the hospitalization emergency altogether.

So where does the industry currently stand with regards to this technology? Hossein Estiri, PhD of the Mass General Laboratory of General Science said:

“Over the past decade, billions of dollars have been spent to institute meaningful use of EHR systems. For a multitude of reasons, however, EHR data are still complex and have ample quality issues, which make it difficult to leverage these data to address pressing health issues, especially during pandemics such as COVID-19, when rapid responses are needed.”

So, the technology is being developed, but it has not been mass-implemented yet. Therein lies the opportunity. There appears to be a growing demand in the tech sector for the development of these EHR machines, which not only lends a great opportunity for businesses, but eventually the average person.

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  1. alok June 22, 2021 at 3:42 am

    Need of time to implement more & more AI in medical field . because so many shortage of Employee in Medical sector.

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