Much like technology’s impact on entertainment and other industries, the introduction of new technology in healthcare has a similar snowball effect. As newer and more updated technology is made publicly available, we clearly see the benefits of these bright innovations. When we speak of technology and healthcare, it is truly where human innovation shines, with doctors, scientists and inventors slaving away to figure out ways to put an end to human suffering through technological development.
There have even been smaller medical innovations that have snuck into our everyday devices; for example, I am sure you know one gym rat with an Apple Watch monitoring their heart rate, amongst other bodily statistics. This was not possible not so long ago, and now it is accessible as an accessory for your digital smartwatch.
Today we are looking at some of the latest and greatest new technology that is driving healthcare straight into the future.
The breakthroughs in nanomedicine have impacted the lives of many. Nanomedicine applies the sciences of using nanotechnology to create medicines that prevent and treat diseases. Biocompatible nanoparticles and nanobots are used in nanomedicine to diagnose, deliver, sense, or act upon the ailments of humans and some animals. The research in this field continues to find new ways to personalize medicine and make it far more accurate and efficient when treating chronic diseases. This development in medicine and technology will also decrease the possibility of the average person having adverse effects from certain medications.
Although mostly seen as an expensive gaming device, the implementation of virtual reality has been making waves in the medical world too. In 2021 it has become a $4 billion industry in the medical space, and there is no reason this number won’t grow in the future. The benefits and possibilities in this field really seem endless; for example, therapeutic virtual reality programs that help people scarred by the terrors of being in military combat who are battling crippling PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
Virtual reality programs can also help educate and calm patients in an environment that suits them. It is also a tool used by professionals to create a 360-degree virtual reality scan of a patient’s anatomy and pathways in their body, increasing the doctor’s ease of properly identifying intrinsic problems and improving treatment overall.
Advancements in AI are more valuable than just an Amazon Echo or Alexa telling you where your closest general practitioner is. There are more valuable uses in the medical sector being implemented by the day. Artificial intelligence is definitely something you should watch out for, as the future plans and research have been massively increasing as years go by – from simple innovations such as automated reminders for taking medication, taking pressure off the already overloaded staff in any hospital, to identifying high-risk patients and their needs, especially those in recovery from substance addiction, there are many possibilities.
As a professional medical worker constantly reviews images and scans, they can become tired. AI can support them by taking over this tedious task and, unhindered by fatigue, still provide accurate information. As a result, radiologists and cardiologists can determine vital insights for prioritizing critical cases, avoiding errors caused by the incorrect reading of EHRs (electronic health records), and establishing more precise diagnoses on all accounts.
The future for artificial intelligence is clearly very bright.
Once a theoretical movie gimmick, cloning has now turned into a reality. Technically, cloning humans has been a reality since the early 2000s with the debut of Eve in 2002 – but leaps and bounds in the stem cell research industry have made cloning more of a common reality than a medical marvel nowadays.
Most newborn’s stem cells will be saved in the future; in the event they become ill, they basically have “spare parts” to keep them healthy. It is controversial as there are some moral gray areas when it comes to using another potential human being to prolong your life, even though they are essentially a clone of yourself. Although literal human cloning is banned, stem cell saving is not, and the research continues to make breakthroughs daily.
Stem Cell Research
Everyone is somewhat aware of stem cell research, but not all are clued-up on the benefits thereof. Stem cell researchers’ ultimate goal is to work out how and why all living organisms deteriorate and eventually die, and figure out how to control and reverse this process, essentially making humans theoretically able to live forever. Stem cell research is a controversial sector as many countries, individuals, and churches feel that many ethical issues arise with the continuation of the research – despite the mass benefits it could have. They have already figured out how to recreate human heart cartilage, amongst other things imperative to the medical sector, like the production of new blood.
The sky’s the limit here, and if the controversy ends, this may be the start of the true preservation of living organisms.
Imagine connecting your heart up to your phone. The original pacemaker is over half a century old at this point, and we are now at a point where pacemakers even have Bluetooth connectivity! You can now monitor your pacemaker from your phone, in between the regular doctor visits you make, to ensure it is working correctly. You still have to do routine check-ups; however, with this extra function, identifying problems and checking settings has become a much easier task and ultimately reduces the possibilities of malfunctions being dealt with too late.
It is becoming extremely common practice for diabetics to wear continuous glucose monitors. You may feel a bit like Tony Stark from Iron Man when they install this monitor into your arm, but at least you can say goodbye to needles. This monitor removes the need to check your glucose levels as it will constantly monitor them and send them to a device, or in some models, your phone, to give you an accurate and optimal reading at any time without having to use a needle.
This device helps to avoid many complications caused by diabetes and can help you identify any issue immediately rather than needing to feel ill first, take a blood test to determine where exactly your glucose levels are, and only then find out what the problem could be. Of course, the same is true when you visit the doctor – it really will speed up the process and make for a more efficient visit or even avoid wasting time and money with a visit in the first place!