The healthcare industry is very important and helps to cure many diseases, including rare ones. The medical industry has made great strides in recent years, allowing for a better understanding of human nature.
The technology plays an important role in gaining more insight into the body. But progress is not possible without addressing other factors that are preventing a healthier and better future. Other factors include rising healthcare costs and inequalities, as well as climate change.
Technology in medical applications offers new possibilities for both patients and medical professionals to fight previously incurable diseases and live in a sustainable environment. Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, virtual health care, Internet of medical Things, and 5G technologies are some of the examples of how technology can improve medical facilities. How? Find out by reading.
1. Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare
Healthcare is one of the many industries where artificial intelligence is growing. AI has many applications in healthcare, including the ability to examine patient data and develop new drugs and improve diagnostic procedures.
AI in the form of machine learning has had a major impact on healthcare. This technology has been used to analyze CT scans to help treat coronavirus. Artificial intelligence has many other applications that go beyond pandemic treatments. For example, AI improves cancer diagnostics. For decades, biopsy was the primary way to diagnose cancer, but did not give a complete picture of organ tissue. Histopathology techniques of today include digital scans that show the impact of cell mutations on a specific region. Pathologists can examine much larger portions of the body using whole slide images or WSI.
2. Integration of Data and Predictive Analytics
Data integration and predictive analytics, when combined with AI and other technologies can extract valuable insights into patients’ health. Medical staff can access patient records, generate more accurate diagnoses and choose the best treatment thanks to AI devices, including robots.
Robots can collect data and determine what is needed for each patient. It raises concerns about robots, such as if they are able to replace humans in their job. These visions have already been seen in many science fiction films. For example, the robot Baymax, from the movie Big Hero 6, is able to measure a patient’s level of pain, alert and take action when the patient is at risk and indicate what medication they need.
The reality, however, is different from the movies. AI may not replace doctors, but it can help them to receive suggested diagnoses and drug and treatment plans, based on the patient’s medical records, past history and current symptoms. The results of the analysis will allow healthcare staff to improve patient outcomes and lower costs while increasing staff satisfaction.
3. Mental Health and Technology
The World Health Organisation reports that mental health problems are on the rise worldwide. Mental health disorders and substance abuse disorders have increased by 13% in the last ten years. This is mainly due to changes in demographics. In today’s world, one in five people suffer from a mental illness. Recent impacts are primarily due to social media use.
In the last year, new technologies have been developed to help patients maintain their mental health. Many psychologists and psychotherapists are now providing their services via video communicators. Digital therapeutics are available, and some applications can be used to diagnose patients and complete the patient intake. Medical personnel try to find ways to help as many patients as possible.
AI is used in mental health not just in apps but also to diagnose diseases. For example, it can be used to detect dementia, which has a range of symptoms caused by chemical changes within the brain. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia and it is characterized by problems with reasoning, communication, and memory. Early diagnosis is the key to treating dementia.
4. Remote Patient Monitoring & Virtual Care
Internet of Things, also known as Internet of Things, is a network of interconnected devices and the technology which enables communication between devices and clouds. Medical technology, also known as Internet of Medical Things, includes wearable sensors, devices that are 5G enabled, and remote monitoring of patients.
A smart pill is one of the IoT innovations that can give medical caregivers and doctors information about the inside of patients’ bodies. Gartner says smart pills can record physiological measurements. The pills can be used to verify that the patient is taking their medication as prescribed and measure its effects. Virtual care also includes features such as location services, appointment management and secure messaging. It can also include evaluations of healthcare providers, history of visits, and wearable connectivity. Primary care clinics and facilities can also now be used as remote hospitals.
5. Digital Therapeutics
The digital therapeutics mentioned above are solutions for chronic illness patients who require ongoing care. Care can include symptom monitoring and medication changes, as well as behavioural modification. These digital therapeutics are available to patients via their doctor’s computer or smartphone app.
6. Wearables for Healthcare
Wearables, or wearable technologies, are electronic devices which can be worn, implanted, integrated into clothing, or tattooed onto the skin. We will not discuss wearables in terms of a gadget, but rather as an important innovation for the healthcare industry. Smartwatches, for example, allow remote monitoring of a patient by displaying information such as heart rate, blood saturation, and vitals. Wearables like pedometers, sensors and other wearable devices can measure a patient’s health.
Smartwatches and biopatch technology aren’t the only wearables that can improve the diagnosis of a patient. Biopatch technology can provide a deeper insight into the vitals of a patient. Artificial intelligence can be used to improve the noise isolation of hearing aids.
7. Organ Care Technology & Bioprinting
In the healthcare sector, 3D printing is used to produce external prostheses, orthopaedic or cranial implants, and even personalised airway devices. It has shown value in surgical planning, and it has been used to perform challenging open-heart surgeries.
The Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State University is developing a system which, according to them, would allow for living cells, bone, and even organs, to be printed inside the bodies of patients by robotic surgery equipment. It could be a life-saving tool for people fighting cancer. We’ve now reached a point where we can refer to 3D-printed organs as bioprinting. Although it may sound impossible, clinical trials have already begun. The ears, corneas and bones are among the organs that have been tested in a clinical setting for 3D printing.
6. Wearables for Healthcare
Wearables, or wearable tech, is an electronic device that can be used as an accessory or implanted into the body of the user. It can also be incorporated into clothing or tattooed onto the skin. We will not discuss wearables in terms of a gadget, but rather as an important innovation for the healthcare industry. Smartwatches, for example, allow remote monitoring of a patient by displaying information such as heart rate, blood saturation, and vitals. Wearables like pedometers, sensors and other wearables can measure a patient’s health.
Smartwatches and biopatch technology aren’t the only wearables that can improve the diagnosis of a patient. Biopatches provide a deeper insight into the vitals of a patient. Artificial intelligence can be used to improve the noise isolation of hearing aids.
7. Organ Care Technology & Bioprinting
It can also be used to create personalised airway devices. It has shown value in surgical planning, and it’s been used to plan open-heart surgery, including the Cleveland Clinic’s entire face transplant.
It could be a life-saving tool for people fighting cancer. We’ve now reached a point where we can refer to 3D-printed organs as bioprinting. Although it may sound impossible, clinical trials have already begun. The ears, corneas and bones are among the organs that have been tested in clinical settings.
8. Cancer Immunotherapy
In this article, we have already discussed cancer. However, we did not mention immunotherapy. This type of cancer treatment has advanced to the point that it can extend a patient’s lifespan significantly. The idea behind immunotherapy is that cancer can now be treated through genetic modification of a patient’s cell, so it cooperates with their immune system. It increases the activity of the immune system to help remove cancer. Immunotherapy is not as damaging to healthy cells, as chemotherapy. The body’s immune system is used to eliminate cancer cells and slow tumour growth.
9. Augmented and Virtual Reality in Healthcare
In healthcare, augmented and virtual realities, have many applications. These technologies connect the digital and physical worlds in a multidimensional manner. Artificial intelligence is the main factor in the development of augmented realities. Cancer can be detected by image recognition, as has already been mentioned. VR is a great tool for physical therapy, especially in mental trauma. It can help cure phobias. AR glasses allow doctors to overlay 3D scans and CAT scans on the body of a patient. Microsoft HoloLens is one of the glasses that provides mixed reality experience.
As technology improves and combines virtual and augmented reality, its use may expand beyond simple virtual checkups, to include a variety medical treatments performed remotely, including full-fledged surgery with robotics.
10. Sustainability and decarbonisation
Healthcare is trying to make a difference in the fight for a sustainable future. For example, ecolabelling. The ecolabeling technique is a voluntary method of certification and labelling environmental performance. An ecolabel is a label that highlights products or services within a specific category.
Companies invest in environmentally-friendly label printing systems for hospitals, clinics and healthcare. Medical professionals can also benefit from these printers. They print pressure-sensitive labels with expert quality that include account/patient data, medication, alerts for medical emergencies, cage cards and more.