Technological advances are changing the way health services are delivered, from portable devices that provide earlier diagnoses and recommend personalized treatments, to telehealth technologies that connect patients and health professionals in a virtual space. Information technology has made patient care more secure and reliable than before. Nurses and doctors use laptop computers to record a patient's medical history and check that they are administering the correct treatment. Laboratory test results, vital sign records, and drug orders are archived electronically in a main database that can be consulted later.
And as more institutions adopt electronic medical records, patients have easier access to their own information so that they too can understand what is being done to them. By analyzing the health information that users search for on the Internet, search engines such as Google have been able to accurately predict medical trends, such as flu outbreaks. Medical specialists are waging a turf war for control of patient services, and insurers are fighting medical and technology providers to determine what treatments and payments are acceptable.