Today’s healthcare combines technical changes with traditional medical technology into a comprehensive platform for improving care. This is all the more difficult in an environment of growing demand, changing insurance needs, and the slowly evolving government mandates for HIPAA, which protects patient records. But technology is changing into a faster, better process. Here are four ways that technology has transformed medicine.

1. Telemedicine

This takes advantage of the same streaming technologies behind video chat to allow remote patients to communicate with medical professionals over the internet. Almost instantaneous, face-to-face interactions form a “virtual” medical checkup over secure channels so that doctors can discuss symptoms, medications, therapies, and do visual inspections. This is a great convenience for patients that are handicapped or located many miles from a medical facility.

2. The Cloud

By 2018, the U.S. government is expected to have 133 cyber security teams in place. This creates an improving environment for medical cloud provider networks. Hospitals can quickly save and retrieve data, share files with other medical facilities, and automate billing. Facilities can operate website portals allowing patients to view their own information and make appointments. This takes a lot of pressure off in-house personnel to focus on patient care. It also saves medical facilities on costs by reducing the need for hardware and IT staff.

3. 3-D Printing

This technology provides many advantages to hospitals and patients. It allows users to create objects to specific designs and very precise dimensions, and reproduce them in a 3-D printer with a variety of materials. Prosthetics, implants, and other devices can now be made-to-order within hours, and customized to each patient. Some 3-D printers are now capable of producing designs in living tissue. Medical experts have already produced bones, ears, and skin that’s revolutionizing surgical options. Others are hard at work perfecting methods to regrow organs and even nerves.

4. Information Systems

Managing patient records is only part of healthcare information systems. Many facilities are also in fierce competition as businesses. There are many online sources for gathering patient feedback to better meet expectations, such as blogs, social media, surveys, and more. Important information gathered into big data systems can also come from internal operations, helping administrators to lower costs and improve efficiency. A modern doctorate in nursing practice provides staff with many technical as well as medical skills.

Scientific progress continues to change and improve healthcare. It’s important that healthcare professionals keep up with it.

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. She especially enjoys writing about the medical field and technology. For more information about the doctorate in nursing practice mentioned above, Hannah recommends looking at Bradley University.