Health care’s digital times

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Heloisa Picolotto Oliveira and Ms. Jessica Lais Caregnato de Meira, two fourth-year medical student at Unicesumar, Paraná, Brazil. They are affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Concomitant to the rampant growth of technology in the 21st century, there is also an increase in globalization and popularization of technological means of mobile tools, where people are increasingly closer to each other and closer to useful information for their lives, almost instantaneously, they can extract and share the data and the information in seconds. More than 300 years b.C., Plato would say in his book “The Question of Technique” that the man is the most defenseless living being on Earth and that he would only survive if he had technical tools (and technological).

It was really true, the practical use of technology has not only facilitated daily life but has also gained a global dimension in the life of human beings, becoming indispensable and being used in all environments and scenarios, such as in workplaces, companies, entertainment, communication with family, commercial marketing, daily using internet, laptops, e-mails, online meetings, automobiles and electricity. And, of course, health, being a main and priority entity in people’s lives, would be included and would have technology as a facilitating and innovative instrument. 

In fact, the implementation of technological resources in the health area is constantly evolving, contributing to better diagnoses, treatments, prognosis, and medical assistance. Increasingly, technological advances are incorporated into our reality, allowing monitoring of vital signs through cell phone applications shared with doctors in real time.

Several developed applications allow monitoring of vital parameters such as the estimation of the glycemic index in diabetic patients, blood pressure measurement in hypertensive patients and even control of habits such as fluid intake and analysis of sleep quality. Thus, the professional can perform even at a distance, a screening based on data such as blood pressure, temperature, heartbeats of the patient and guide the search for care at the necessary time. 

In this view, the technology is expressed through advances in imaging exams, tomography, electrocardiograms, vaccines, antibiotics, anesthetics, transplants, pacemakers, in addition the facility in the clinic, where the doctor-patient relationship has been improved and facilitated, many times with an intermediate contact through instant messages, with data collection for screening, information on improvement/performance, general guidance when patients´ questions arise, consultation planning, among many others. 

Advances in diagnostics allow more reliable results and accurate screening detecting changes that were previously impossible without the aid of complementary tests, in addition to enabling an early diagnosis of tumors and other diseases ensuring quick intervention and better prognosis. Complementing this, it is possible to ensure a greater specificity and sensitivity of exams, avoiding invasive procedures, ensuring that the treatment is carried out with higher success rates.

As in all sectors, technology in the health area has evolved quickly improving its techniques to ensure safe care, reduced costs, and greater diagnostic safety. Therefore, adapting to this new era is essential to save new lives and avoid unnecessary procedures. 

About the author

Heloisa Picolotto Oliveira, 21, fourth-year medical student at Unicesumar, Paraná, Brazil. Affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), local marketing director (LCM-D) and local coordinator.

Jessica Lais Caregnato de Meira, 22, fourth-year medical student at Unicesumar, Paraná Brazil. Member of the academic leagues of sports medicine and nutrology

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