Consumers today have countless new technologies at their fingertips. Whether it’s computerized navigation in cars, social media on smartphones, or any of countless other products that we all use on a daily basis, these new products represent huge advances in technology.

There are a few fields that have advanced as far as medicine has, and in recent years, the pace has only accelerated. While it may look the same (or even be the same) building it was before, today’s hospital, clinic, or treatment facility looks very different from those of 20 or even ten years ago, thanks to the technological advances made in health care.

It’s worth noting that these innovations have not come without a price tag. Even so, in a world that still can’t place an actual financial value on a human life, it’s nevertheless quite easy to see that the expenditures are worth it. The cost has brought about an extensive discussion about how best to fund an overall healthcare system.

The new ways of taking care of patients have resulted in a lot of changes in the facilities where that care takes place. The list could go on and on, but much of what you’ll see at your next appointment involves these main areas.

Diagnostic Equipment

To see just how far this field has come, tune in to an old episode of a hospital documentary show. It doesn’t have to be that old, maybe from the late 1990s. Somewhere along the way, a doctor will tell a patient that they’re going to do an MRI, and then add “It’s like a fancy x-ray.” Today, patients not only know exactly what an MRI is when they come through the door, they’re likely to request one. They also know what CT scans, echocardiograms, EEGs, and countless other tests are, all because of their widespread use.

Improved Assistive Technologies

There are certainly some impressive and powerful technologies coming into use in healthcare, but along with the new tools for diagnosis have come other items that have flown under the radar. You might not think that surgical lights could have been improved, but they could–and they have. Modern LED technology provides more reliable light at a higher intensity with lower energy consumption, reducing the cost of running lights and, most importantly, making it more likely that procedures can be completed with full illumination.

Communication Upgrades

Test results were often ferried from place to place by fast-moving interns or technicians. Now, the results can be sent wherever they need to go with a simple click of a mouse or a tap on the screen of a tablet. Physicians consulting from literally any place in the world with internet access can see quality images, lab results, and other data in just moments, providing lifesaving feedback to practitioners who are on site with the patient. Sometimes the patient can communicate directly with the doctor via video link, bridging huge gaps of distance and time.

It’s true that technology of every kind has advanced by leaps and bounds over the last few years, but there is probably no sector that better illustrates that than healthcare. The powerful equipment in use at hospitals and clinics of all kinds is capable of providing detailed information that improves the accuracy of diagnoses, eliminates many unnecessary treatments, and shortens recovery times for patients with many different types of conditions.

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