Connected health care isn’t the future. Connected health care is happening now, as medical professionals turn to smart devices to improve on the way health care is delivered and to give patients some control over their overall care.

Necessary ingredients

Connected health care — or technology-enabled care — is described by Deloitte as the “convergence of health technology, digital media and mobile device,” and provides cost-effective solutions. While these technologies are being adopted across all medical disciplines, the greatest impact may be in cardiovascular care.

At the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, doctors use mobile technologies to monitor patients with a history of congestive heart failure (CHF), which has, according to Healthcare Informatics, “helped reduce 30-day readmission rates for CHF patients in the program to 12 percent, compared to the nationwide average readmission rate of 25 percent.”

“Technology-enabled care has already begun to revolutionize the way doctors can detect potential heart problems”

The key hardware

New technologies also allow cardiologists to early-diagnose patients who are at risk of coronary artery disease using non-invasive tools. Without surgery, or attached wires, these tools can quickly measure heart activities in three-dimensional views for more accurate measurement of risk.

Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), while considered one of the best ways to gather detailed information about the heart, has been a seldom-used option because of the expense and complexity of the scans. With the introduction of new software packages that rely on artificial intelligence to review the scans, this should change. A second type of software will reign in the overload of big data, by recording less information more efficiently — and to more quickly conduct the scans.

Finally, if the patient does end up needing heart surgery, medical professionals are turning to robotics in the operating room, directed through an iPad. Technology-enabled care has already begun to revolutionize the way doctors can detect potential heart problems and care for patients remotely. As technology improves, everyone comes out a winner with better health options and lower health care costs.