By Eva Webster
Technology is changing everything we do and how we do it, so it should be no shocker that it is also changing how we take care of our health. The health care industry in the United States is worth $1.668 trillion, which means there is enough capital there to advance the technology surrounding it. This includes various forms of healthcare technology, including medical mobile apps and many others. People want easier ways to take care of their health and doctors want to be able to take care of more patients, with more streamlined methods. Here are some of the newest advances in medical technology for the medicine of the future.
Medical 3D printing
Not only can we create fun and somewhat useful creations on a 3D printer, science is taking this technology further by creating medical instruments for use in people’s bodies. Researchers have created splints for opening airways, stents, prosthetics, pieces of skull and even organs for transplant using 3D printing technology.
Patient compliance is one of the biggest issues facing healthcare practitioners, as many refuse or simply forget to take medications. Technology is changing this for both patients and their doctors, with pill bottles that turn different colors when pills should be taken and when they are missed. As well, researchers are working on pills that transmit information to physicians and caregivers when they are taken. This not only changes compliance rates, but might be a key to reducing insurance costs (as the information will also get transmitted to insurance companies). This could be a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it.
No one wants to wait for results to find out if they are sick. Getting real-time answers is going to be a boon to the medical industry, both for doctors who can prescribe treatment immediately and for patients who won’t have the stress of the waiting period. The surgical iKnife is one instance of a real-time diagnostic tool that is changing the face of medicine. The knife detects chemicals in the biological sample and can therefore identify if tissue is malignant, allowing surgeons to know exactly where to cut.
Customized treatment plans
Sequencing DNA from a tumor, researchers will soon know exactly what sort of treatment to prescribe a patient. Molecular cancer diagnostics will definitely change the way cancer patients are treated, with targeted treatments for their DNA sequence.
Virtual reality participation
Virtual reality isn’t just for gaming. Recently a cancer surgeon performed an operation using a VR camera, allowing others to participate through a website and app. Medical students and family could view the surgery and it will definitely revolutionize the way students learn how to do surgeries. Rather than using human cadavers, medical students can practice on virtual dissection tables.
Technology will definitely change the way the world does medicine and the change is happening rapidly.