Technology is part of everything we do including work zoom calls, gadgets to help us stream music, and voice activated technology that works like having a personal assistant. It does not seem like we can ever avoid technology. While there is much discussion about things such as what is the impact of so much screen time on our bodies in reality technology can play a much wider and more positive role in maintaining our health. Technology can be used to help us stay healthy in all aspects of our lives and provide our doctors tools to use when we fall sick. Technology will always have an important role to play in health and healthcare for us all.
Technology and Treatment
Currently when we come down with an illness it is likely that our health care professionals will turn to technology so that we can have the best possible outcomes. If we go in with heart issues we will be given technology that can monitor our hearts and restart them if needed. Technology has led to more than one alternative treatment for prostate cancer including many less invasive treatments that are created to work with each individual’s body. Other technology can help doctors know if someone might have a blood clot in their lungs or what is happening inside our brains if we have chronic headaches. Technology can even assist doctors in performing surgery by using robots that are more precise than a human could be. If we come down with a major illness it is likely that our doctors will be using technology to treat us and to get us back on our feet.
Technology and Health Maintenance
For those of us who have chronic health conditions maintenance can be stressful, and this stress can lead us to not monitor our health like we know we should because we don’t have the energy to do so. Technology is being used to help with such maintenance.
For example, for those who have diabetes there are continuous glucose monitors which make monitoring blood sugar levels much easier then having to stick our fingers all the time. In addition using the power of big data there are now portable health trackers that can monitor such things as heart rate, calories burned, steps taken in a day, your sleep patterns, or even your oxygen blood levels and some can report directly to our health care professionals if something seems off. What all this technology means is that we all can take a level of control over our health that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.
In addition the growth of telehealth means that many individuals who would not otherwise have access to preventative or maintenance care because of social, economic, or cultural issues can now get the help they need to thrive no matter where they live.
Technology and Mental Health
While we often think about our physical bodies when we talk about health this is not where health ends. Another important part of health is our mental health. Many of us are suffering from mental health challenges such as depression or anxiety. Historically there has been a lack of educational resources and treatment options for many individuals because of economic issues as well issues of stigma.
Either people could not afford to go or did not want to be seen going to therapy but now there is technology that can help individuals regularly check in with their mental health and that will note if there are changes in patterns of behavior. There are apps that provide breathing exercise and mediations when someone feels stressed. There are more and more sites available online where we can get a wide range of talk therapy options without having to worry about schedule or how they might get to an appointment.
Finally for those individuals who find themselves in crisis or find someone they love is in crisis there are many hotlines that can be called or texted 24 hours a day in order to get the help that is needed. Technology can help us in every part of a healthy lifestyle from treatment, to maintenance, to mental health. Technology allows us all to take control of our health and live a healthier life.