Smart Healthcare: Bringing back the 19 th century, but in a 21 st century manner

Author: Sarah Jorgensen

It is no surprise to us that the world population is both expanding and aging and this is largely due to the fact that medical research and technologies are rapidly advancing. How will this impact the way we use medical facilities in the future and how do these advancements impact the psychological healing of patients?

Many years ago, prior to the 19 th century, the wealthier members of societies had the privilege of doctors making house calls and were able to heal in the comfort of their own home, today often patients are set to share facilities with many others and the experience is much less personal. Healthcare facilities are often designed around functionality with the psychological needs of patients and staff as an afterthought;
and according to researchers and academics in the field of healthcare design, there is scientific evidence to support the fact that poor design works against the well- being of patients and can, in certain instances, have negative effects on psychological indicators of well-being.

Recent advancements in telehealth and in particular telehomecare have blurred these lines slightly, where patients are able to interact with healthcare professionals via various applications, forums and platforms where certain medical assessments take place. In addition to the assessments, telehomecare also involves a wide- spread patient / family health education program with a strong component of self- management of chronic illnesses, in a way reverting back to pre-19 th century, where
doctors made house calls, but in a more 21 st century kind of way.

For example, this form of technology works in way where doctors or healthcare professionals can remotely communicate with their patients, in a convenient location for both parties involved. Patients are often supplied with easy to use equipment that allows them to independently monitor their health and then report back to their healthcare advisors.

Female doctor scanning brain of patient

The telehomecare concept also encourages patients to become
more in control of their conditions and manage their lifestyles better.
Apart from telehomecare being beneficial to the psychological needs of patients, there are many other benefits to the invention.

Telehomecare reduces traveling time of patients as well as the waiting time at doctors’ offices, telehomecare also opens up opportunities to people living in rural areas, giving them access to the care they may need without having to travel far distances.

Telehomecare is a great example of the advancements in medical technology as well as a great tool in creating a more psychologically comforting experience for patients.

Sarah Jorgensen is an interior designer from Port Elizabeth, South Africa with a curious mind for smart healthcare and the psychology of spaces. She is conducting research on these two topics working with a local hospital in her city as a case study.

 

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