While so much of the technology that entertains us is upgraded incrementally, it’s easy to overlook the fascinating advances in medical tech. I mean sure, the new iPhone is nice, but have you seen what they’re doing with nanomedicines?
So while the phone screen you’re reading this on may be a marvelous piece of technology in itself, it’s really not that remarkable compared to the advances being made in the medical tech industry. And let’s not even get into agtech. In this article, we’re going to look at how tech is improving our health, and highlight some of the most amazing developments in recent times.
AI-assisted diagnostics and treatment
While doctors are highly respected, they’re not infallible. With so many diseases and conditions, it’s impossible for doctors to diagnose patients with 100% accuracy. In fact, various studies show that around 20% of serious medical conditions are misdiagnosed, and many patients are recommended to obtain second or even third opinions from specialists.
Computer and AI-driven diagnosis accuracy was quite terrible several years ago, as low as around 12% accuracy in 2016. However, that number has shot up considerably over the years, and AI was able to diagnose with 72.52% accuracy in 2020, putting it in the top 48% of doctors.
These percentages can reach as high as 99% accuracy for certain diseases, especially when combined with pathologist analysis. This is incredible because it’s been said that there are around 10,000 diseases in the world, and only around 300 symptoms that doctors can look for.
Vision care and optical treatment
Blindness and visual impairment affect over 253 million people worldwide, and treatment is difficult due to how complicated our eyes really are. Many advances have been made in surgery techniques, such as myopic LASIK eye surgery, but it still requires an extremely steady and precise surgeon behind the controls.
More advanced methods are being revealed though, such as AI-driven ray tracing techniques. This creates a much more customizable, case-by-case approach to laser eye surgery, and is much faster as well.
Other advances in vision care technology seek to prevent eye strain and reduce migraine attacks, such as migraine glasses. Our daily screen time and blue lights emitted from our digital screens has been linked to exacerbating eye fatigue and migraine headaches, so migraine glasses are specially tinted to filter out those harsh blue lights, without darkening your vision like regular sunglasses.
3D printing medical equipment
3D printing has been an incredible technology for the manufacturing industry, but it’s also made waves in the medical community. Many hospitals rely on vendor chains for the delivery of basic supplies, such as syringe vials, PPE face shields, and other common hospital equipment.
The number of hospitals utilizing 3D printing has shot up drastically, from only 3 hospitals in 2010, to over 100 in 2019.
Incredibly, it’s not only basic equipment being 3D printed now, but more advanced materials such as synthetic skin, prosthetics, and implants.
Virtual reality training
In the past, surgeons were typically trained on cadavers. Surgical residents and first-year medical students still practice appendectomies and other procedures on cadavers, but virtual reality has made the practice fairly obsolete.
With virtual reality, surgeons-in-training can gain the skill training they need, without going butcher in the morgue. A Harvard Business Review study showed that surgeons who trained in VR showed a 230% boost in performance, when compared to surgeons trained the traditional cadaver way.
Nanobots and medicines
Nanobots are tiny ‘robots’ that are showing amazing promise in medicine, as they can be designed to mimic blood cells and attack disease cells. In fact, clinical trials for brands of nanomedicine aimed at treating medicine are scheduled to begin in 2021, and remarkable strides have been made in this industry.