Technology has always had a significant role in medicine – whether it’s the development of the microscope back in the 17th century, or the development of surgical tools, the health field wouldn’t function without healthcare technological innovations.
The present days developments in the healthcare technology industry are taking things further and further, and new exciting possibilities are becoming ever-present. The COVID-19 pandemic has recently revealed the gaps and inefficiencies of healthcare systems around the world, and the newest developments in healthcare technology are receiving more attention than ever before.
Here are some of the best new healthcare technology shaping the medical field of the future.
No single healthcare technology is more useful right now, in the coronavirus pandemic than telemedicine. This term simply means tech solutions that are used in place of physically visiting the doctor. It can involve remote diagnosis, treatment, and can take the form of audio, video calling, or even text or messaging exchange!
Telemedicine has been increasing in use since 2016 and is now really taking off. Tens of millions of people are making telemedicine visits across America, and in many cases, they work just as well as a physical visit. Sometimes, naturally, physical visits are necessary – but in times like a pandemic, when physical visits can put lives at risk, telemedicine is a useful alternative.
Healthcare Technology: Wearable Technology
Wearable tech simply means technology that can be worn, like a smartwatch. This isn’t exactly a new idea, but its adoption by the healthcare community is! Wearable tech can provide a huge amount of information about its users and can help doctors to diagnose ailments.
Wearable devices, linked to healthcare systems by the Internet of Things (IoT), can provide updates on physical health metrics like blood pressure, heart rate, and sleep habits, negating the need for multi-day observations in hospitals. Doctors can focus on preventative rather than curative measures, and patients can know more about their own health and bodies.
3D Printing and Prosthetics
3D printing shows great promise in the healthcare field – one company, BIOLIFE4D, last year showed it was capable of printing a 3D heart.
Products that are otherwise expensive to create can be made cheaper, like prosthetic limbs. Another company, Bristol’s Open Bionics, is working to lower the costs of prosthetics using 3D printing. Many people worldwide don’t have access to prosthetic limbs – but 3D printing can be done in any country, making it accessible to people all over the world!
Healthcare Technology: Blockchain
Blockchain was invented by Bitcoin to facilitate cryptocurrency exchange – but its uses in other industries are now being explored. For example, it can be used to share patient data so that it’s secure. Patients and doctors could have immediate access to records wherever they are, and can instantly transfer records between hospitals, institutions, and healthcare professionals.
Blockchain technology is built around a ledger that contains all the information about a particular data network and is distributed to every individual in the network. This makes it impossible to forge or tamper with data and makes the data very secure.
Big Data can also be applied in the healthcare field. Big Data refers to the collection of information on a massive scale – this could mean the comparing of thousands of healthcare studies in a few seconds, vastly speeding up the development of new drugs and vaccines. Big Data has really proved it’s worth in the COVID-19 pandemic. From tracking exposure to the virus to cracking the virus genome, systems relying on Big Data can work quicker and more efficiently than human researchers ever could. These systems will be the future of diagnostics.
The current era is a scary one in terms of public health, but we must also remember that times of upheaval breed greater social and technological change. The coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a time of innovation for public health systems, and the future looks bright for the medical sector. A range of new healthcare technologies are being studied, and their uses will enable us to do things in medicine we only dreamed of before! Greater funding from organizations and governments are making this possible – companies and nations that never collaborated before are now working together. We can only hope this will change the future of healthcare!
Here are some of the best new healthcare technology shaping the medical field of the future. Telemedicine. Wearable technology. 3D Printing and Prosthetics. Blockchain. Big Data.