It continues to amaze me how new technologies are being adopted and adapted to help physicians improve the quality of care for their patients. From the technologies being implemented within the hospitals—like the pediatric robotic surgery program that you will read about in this issue of TMC Pulse—to remote monitoring and information sharing, the innovations in the field of health care are setting a truly exciting stage for the future.
We are increasingly seeing a focus on connectivity. If patients are connected to their physicians, and their physicians to each other, the team can base care and treatment decisions on relevant, tangible information.
As a cardiothoracic surgeon, I know well the value of communication in helping maintain those connections. Especially for patients that require multiple physicians and specialists, the process of sharing the most current patient records can be daunting. Looking to new platforms for sharing electronic medical records, as is being done by the local non-profit Greater Houston Healthconnect, we see hospitals and physicians actively retrieving their patients’ files from a growing network of care providers within the Texas Medical Center, and across the Houston region and the state of Texas.
It is also exciting to see the growing interest in mobile medical devices, particu- larly those that allow patients to be monitored from the comfort of their own homes. Researchers here within the Texas Medical Center are actively working on tech- nologies that have the potential to change the way we think about the delivery of care. Imagine allowing a cancer patient to wear a wireless bracelet, like many of the fitness devices available today, that can remotely monitor their body temperature and other physical symptoms of their disease, and share that information with their physicians in real time.
I believe we are not too far from having these types of platforms more widely available, connecting physicians and patients in a more proactive approach to care and treatment. We are already seeing promising new capabilities, like the new melanoma screening app, created by a University of Houston professor, to give rural physicians or global health care providers a way to provide skin cancer screenings for underserved populations.
As is often the case, the driving force behind these technologies is the passion and purpose of individuals dedicated to improving patient care. They are changing the future of medicine, and it is inspiring to see so many collaborating and innovating here in our own community.