How Digital Health Technology Is Transforming Oncology Care
Telemedicine and the Future of Cancer Treatment
New healthcare technology continues to change the way care providers and facilities think about chronic disease management, including cancer. Cancer remains one of the most common chronic conditions in America. The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 1,762,450 new cancer cases and 606,880 cancer deaths in the United States in 2019 alone.
Fortunately, telemedicine and wearable medical devices can help care providers reduce the number of cancer-related deaths each year by increasing the chances of early detection, improving cancer treatment methods, and increasing patient access to care. Learn more about how this technology is transforming oncology care.
Increasing Access to Care
Patients with cancer in rural areas remain underserved when it comes to receiving adequate medical care. Many of these patients live far away from cancer treatment centers, forcing them to commute long distances and secure transportation to receive the care they need.
Some cancer patients even delay treatment due to the burden of getting care. Rural patients may also miss preventive medical appointments such as breast exams and other cancer screenings, delaying treatment and decreasing their chances of survival.
Telemedicine helps rural patients connect with medical professionals using live video and audio, so they can manage their medical needs without needing to travel long distances. Digital technology and health-based apps can also send these patients alerts and reminders regarding cancer treatment and preventive medical appointments, so they don’t fall behind on their healthcare needs.
Expanding the Medical Record with Wearable Technology
Care providers are also starting to deploy wearable medical devices, such as wristbands, watches, and other devices, as a way of learning more about their patients and the effectiveness of their cancer treatment.
These devices automatically collect valuable patient information such as heart rate, sleeping patterns, daily exercise, and other information that may help the treatment process. Cancer patients can also use digital tools such as live audio/video, and online forums to report any changes to their health.
Care providers can then use this information to create a comprehensive picture of their patients, including how they’re responding to treatment in real time. They can also use these digital tools to interface with patients throughout the treatment process, assessing their needs and concerns, answering questions, and providing detailed instructions for managing any symptoms.
This constant engagement between care providers and their patients can reduce the rate of cancer-related deaths, increase the chances of early detection, and help patients feel more comfortable at home throughout the treatment process.
AI and Oncology Data Analytics
As more oncology care providers deploy this technology and collect data on their patients, healthcare facilities and cancer treatment centers can begin building databases of information regarding the latest cancer treatment methods, alternative treatment methods, patient reactions and symptoms, and early detection strategies.
The more care providers learn about the patient experience, the better equipped they will be to care for the next generation of patients. This includes when to start screening for various forms of cancer and how to best treat them based on the age, weight, background and other factors.
Digital technology makes it easy for care providers and healthcare facilities to share this information, making it accessible to oncologists across the U.S. and abroad. Not having access to certain cancer-related data and healthcare technology puts some providers and their patients at a disadvantage, but these digital tools can connect providers across long distances, helping facilities across the globe make use of their experience and expertise.
These new tools will continue to change the way care providers treat cancer patients as more providers and facilities implement this technology. These tools work best when care providers are using them in tandem, increasing the industry’s access to information and making it available to providers across the globe.
Cancer continues to be one of the most common chronic conditions in the world. The medical community can work together to bring about real change when it comes to treating, and ultimately beating, cancer. Learn more about new technology in healthcare at InTouch Health today.