The medical innovation is an opportunity for the healthcare system to overcome many of the challenges that face this sector in both developed and underdeveloped countries–think about the long waiting lists and the quality of the provided service. Overall, medical innovation is a slow and challenging process as we explored in Four Reasons to Expand Mobile Technology Usage in Medical Innovation.

The medical innovation is an extensive umbrella that includes different types of innovation, such as offering, pharmaceutical, service, technological, and others. To the patients, medical innovation can provide a potential solution for the long waiting lists, improving the patient relationship with the healthcare system and build patient-centred solutions.

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In this article, medical innovation is considered from the perspective of patient empowerment that allows the patient to take control of their health and treatment to solve the current challenges facing the healthcare systems. To this end, below are five reasons that the healthcare bodies should adopt patient-centric innovative solutions.

Patient Empowerment Through Medical Innovation

Patient empowerment refers to involving patients in decision making and the treatment process related to their medical conditions. It can take different levels starting from contributing to choosing the treatment with the doctors (concordance) or diagnosis process that is entirely or partly administrated by patients. Medical innovation allows patients to become less dependant on clinical professionals and be able to tailor the healthcare practice based on their needs and daily routines. A good example is changing the daily diet and exercise for diabetic patients. Mobile applications can now provide complete tailored courses that help patients to change their life behaviour.

Companion app for stress and anxiety
Companion app is a medical innovation example to treat stress and anxiety. (source: screenshot from App Store)

Another example is patients with stress, anxiety, and depression. The increasing number of patients (especially teens) with mental health problems becomes a critical issue, especially when the patients need to wait for months to be referred to the psychiatric clinician. Mobile apps like Companion can help patients with anxiety, stress, and depression to have more control over their emotional problems through simple daily exercises. 

Reduce the Clinical Admission

Lack of healthcare resources persists as one of the challenging problems that face the majority of the healthcare system in the world. While the top healthcare service becomes more and more inclusive, the burden increases on the individuals working in the sector. As a result, patients are asked to wait for a long time until they have access to the service. Many of the clinical appointments are for monitoring and follow-up. Medical innovation has opened the door for different solutions that can be used to monitor and meet patients remotely.

Babylon app for remote appointments
Babylon app is a medical technology example for remote appointments. (source: screenshot from App Store)

Babylon (GP at Hand) is one example of the Telehealth applications that allow patients to talk to their GP using audio and video in minutes 24/7. Monitoring devices can also share data about patients blood pressure, and heart rate with their doctors so they can monitor the patient’s condition without asking the patient to book multiple appointments. Telehealth can be as efficient as patient visits as it facilitates the doctors’ ability to get patients’ data 24/7, which is crucial in some cases, such as unpredictable blood pressure levels. Heart Rate app is an excellent example as it allows patients to take their heart rate readings through mobile and share it with their doctors.

Overcome the Lack of Staff

The lack of staff (doctors and nurses) in healthcare systems is probably a leading cause of all other problems. It takes a long time to prepare the team with the skills needed to work in this critical field. Many of the appointments are held to discuss issues that don’t need high skills, such as asking for a repeat prescription.

Ada is an artificial intelligent treatment app
Ada is a treatment support app that is based on artificial intelligent (AI). (source: screenshot from App Store)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications extended the ability to get medical advice through using AI bots. While there is a lot of debate about using AI in medical applications. Getting information about specific symptoms can save both the patient and clinician time. Ada is a mobile app that asks you a couple of questions and based on it, the app starts to search the database for the possible causes of these set of symptoms. 

Find Non-Invasive Solutions

Medical innovation extends its application beyond the booking appointments or changing health behaviour. Some technological solutions could save the patient the complications of surgical intervention and allows them to heal using alternative medical intervention. These non-invasive interventions don’t only reduce the risks, but also reduced the need for healthcare assets (beds, equipment, and rooms) and professional clinicians (surgeons, and anaesthesia staff). While this type of medical innovation requires passing clinical trials and regulation before adopted as a standard treatment, it can provide significant relief of pain and suffer for many patients.

Noctura 400 for Diabetic Eye
Noctura 400 mask is a non-invasive medical technology to solve diabetic eye problem. (source: screenshot from the mask website).

Noctura 400 mask is an excellent example to treat the diabetic macular oedema (DMO) and diabetic retinopathy (DR). Diabetic patients tend to develop DMO and DR due to the retina’s excess consumption of Oxygen. While the current surgical intervention is required to reduce the thickness of the retina and allow the patient to see correctly, the mask can help to reduce and healing these symptoms by wearing it every night. 

Avoid the Missing Appointment Problem

Due to the lack of staff, the number of appointments per clinic is limited, and doctors only able to take a certain number of appointments per day. However, some patients don’t appear on time and miss appointment due to different factors and on the top of it, forgetting the date. This problem reduces the real number of patients that are seen by the doctor while other patients are waiting disparately for an appointment.

My GP is a doctor appointment app
My GP app is a medical innovation example for doctor appointment. (source: screenshot from App Store)

 MyGP is an app that lets you book appointments, order prescription and get reminders on your mobile phone. This application can help patients to keep details of their future appointments, reminds them of their next visit, or repeat prescription. 

Healthcare sector can overcome many of the challenges that stand against achieved the sector goals toward its patients. The above examples provide solutions that can help to reduce the long waiting lists, missing appointments, and provide an alternative for invasive interventions. Furthermore, medical innovation may contribute to transforming the healthcare system toward a more patient concordance model that empowers patients to take part in the treatment or diagnosis practice.