The world of healthcare is changing rapidly. What might have seemed like something out of science fiction just a decade or two ago is rapidly becoming commonplace. With better technology, medical professionals can reach more people with better diagnoses. Below are four ways that contemporary medicine is changing and how it might continue to change in the future.
The Rise of Telehealth
Currently, telehealth can be a great way to deliver healthcare to those in remote locations or to some who may have other barriers to going into a clinic to see a professional. Telehealth can also be a boon for people with chronic conditions because it may cut back on how often they have to visit a clinic. Telehealth can address both mental and physical health issues.
Universities are increasingly able to provide remote therapy for college students. This is a population who might not always be diligent about making or keeping appointments, and telehealth can take away some of that friction. Telehealth is likely to grow in popularity, and patients will probably start to expect it as an option from their providers in the years ahead. Tools for remote monitoring and diagnosis are likely to become more sophisticated, reducing even further the need for a patient to be seen in person.
Robotic surgery has been around in some form since the 1990s. Robotic devices can assist in the process of surgery with precision, and some remote surgery is possible as well. Often, this surgery is far less invasive than earlier procedures. However, the rise of 5G suggests new horizons for the use of artificial intelligence and robotic tools in the operating room. Greater bandwidth will significantly reduce latency and can make it possible for surgeons to perform delicate operations from longer distances. One of the challenges that will need to be addressed is security and stability of the connection.
Surgical tools, such as clamps and retractors, can already be made using 3D printing. Living tissue and cells can also be created using bioprinting. So far, it is not yet possible to use 3D printing to create entire complex organs, but scientists are working toward this and similar outcomes, and it could cause a revolution in medicine. There is a perpetual shortage of appropriate donor organs for people who need kidney, heart and other types of transplants, and if these organs could be manufactured, many lives would be improved and saved.
Artificial intelligence currently plays a number of different roles in health care. One of those roles is preventative, assisting in monitoring various aspects of their lives and in making lifestyle changes. Another is diagnostic. AI helps with early detection of cancer and other diseases and cuts down on false positives. In the future, AI may be able to provide home health care for people. It may also be used more extensively in medical schools to train students. Turning routine administrative and clinical tasks over to AI can free up medical staff to care for patients in other ways.