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Technology role in modern health care

24th April 2008

As the NHS approaches its 60th anniversary, the latest 21st century technology is dramatically changing traditional working practices.

PETscan1

In some areas, the advances have been so dramatic that they have a sci-fi feel to them.

Robots, digital imagery, voice recognition systems and interactive touch-screen patient systems have all streamlined processes, made them more efficient and enhanced the workplace experience of the health professional and the visiting patient.

The Countess of Chester Hospital has combined voice recognition systems with digital x-ray, which scans the image straight onto the central database. The voice recognition cuts out the need for dictation to an administrator.

Consultant radiologist Dr Ann Wright added: "There is no sitting around for several days waiting for the typists to catch up with the report."

Wireless technology has had a big impact.

At the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham, patients can register at reception on a touch-screen computer and this signals their arrival on the ward in advance. The wireless system also means a consultant can have their notes at the bedside on a laptop, wherever a patient is in the hospital.

Another development for hospitals is the bed with a scanning blanket which wraps around patients and monitors their internal organs.

Robots are also being used for a growing number of tasks, from selecting tablets to performing complex surgery by remote control, in some cases with the surgeon in one country operating on a patient in another.

What a few years ago was classed as futuristic and sci-fi is now the reality in the modern health service.

 

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