November 22, 2019   |   Updated: December 15, 2020

For many in the world, access to premium healthcare and wellness services are not easily attainable. Inconsistencies in medical diagnoses, long travel times to hospitals and lack of resources often make it difficult for rural patients to receive the care they desperately need.

“We need to bring technology to the user, and avoid the danger that such technology will only be affordable by a small percentage of people ” says IEEE member Kerstin Dautenhahn. “We need low-cost solutions that are ideally freely available to all. That’s my personal vision.”

Luckily, new health technologies are emerging to someday help provide more well-rounded access. We asked our IEEE Impact Creators to share their insights on the AI-focused technologies they believe will limit the healthcare gap in the future.

1. Sensor Technologies

“Currently, the range and quality of healthcare is inconsistent,” says IEEE Fellow Karen Panetta. “In some cases people go into hospitals for one ailment and come out with other ailments that were introduced by unsanitary conditions or resulting from poor communication or misunderstanding of patient cases.

“Artificial intelligence and new sensor technology will help break this vicious cycle, by introducing new technology to detect bacteria such as staph infections and ensure that health workers remain compliant with safety protocols,” says Panetta.

2. Telehealth and Digital Calling

Physical location is often a big deterrent for rural patients to receive the care they need. In large countries like China, patients must commute days and pay a large sum of money for the transit. Now with technologies like telehealth and digital calling, a patient has the ability to quickly see top doctors without having to make a physical trip.

“Providing care untethered from a physical location means a child in Sumter county, Alabama can potentially be seen by a pediatric cardiologist at Rainbow Babies and Children’s hospital, and referred to a consultation later the same day by a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon at Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania,” says IEEE member Doug Walled.

Telehealth is also a great way for doctors to come together and work to solve rare diseases or illnesses.

“Along with remote diagnosis, physicians are able to effectively utilise their time to be spent with multiple patients from multiple geographies,” says IEEE member Jayakrishnan Thrivikraman Nair. “This will also enable a pool of experts from various locations to collectively address a problem and make decisions when it comes to complicated issues.”

3. Wearable Technologies

Wearable technologies are great for daily maintenance to check vitals. As these watches and other wearables become more accessible, patients in rural areas will be able to easily track their health and send their data to a healthcare professional to update their charts.

“More and more it is a question of scalability and quality of care,” says IEEE member Antonio Espingardeiro. “As the worldwide population increases we will need to monitor our health through different ways. We will need more periodic checks and doing it through daily routines almost in an unconscious way.”

As these three technologies continue to advance and become more accessible, rural patients will be able to receive the type of care they desperately need, without the hefty price tag associated with it.


How Technology Helps us Understand Our Health and Wellness

Creating Healthy Spaces Through Technology

The Resilience of Humanity

Harnessing and Sustaining our Natural Resources

Exceptional Infrastructure Challenges, Technology and Humanity

The Global Impact of IEEE's 802 Standards

Scenes of our Cyber Lives: The Security Threats and Technology Solutions Protecting Us

How Millennial Parents are Embracing Health and Wellness Technologies for Their Generation Alpha Kids

Space Exploration, Technology and Our Lives

Global Innovation and the Environment

How Technology, Privacy and Security are Changing Each Other (And Us)

Find us in booth 31506, LVCC South Hall 3 and experience the Technology Moon Walk

Virtual and Mixed Reality

How Robots are Improving our Health

IEEE Experts and the Robots They are Teaching

See how millennial parents around the world see AI impacting the lives of their tech-infused offspring

Take the journey from farm to table and learn how IoT will help us reach the rising demand for food production

Watch technical experts discuss the latest cyber threats

Explore how researchers, teachers, explorers, healthcare and medical professionals use immersive technologies

Follow the timeline to see how Generation AI will be impacted by technology

Learn how your IoT data can be used by experiencing a day in a connected life

Listen to technical experts discuss the biggest security threats today

See how tech has influenced and evolved with the Games

Enter our virtual home to explore the IoT (Internet of Things) technologies

Explore an interactive map showcasing exciting innovations in robotics

Interactively explore A.I. in recent Hollywood movies

Get immersed in technologies that will improve patients' lives