Healthcare Trends for 2020?
As technology and innovation are continuing to grow, researchers are driving the pace of progression in the healthcare and biomedical fields. Fortunately, the conventional line between medical sciences and biomedical engineering is becoming thinner and is expected to blur with time. Medical devices and industrial equipment are becoming faster, smaller, smarter, and easy to use, making it beneficial for doctors, valid for users and patients, and most prominently; economical for the healthcare system.
Thanks to the industry experts, the last decade has proven to be advantageous in the convergence of consumer-focused technologies towards a once rarified world of innovative design and usage. Also, the improvements in quality of life and life expectancies are fueling the drastic change in aging, illnesses such as dementia, heart diseases, diabetes, and cancers.
Additionally, these technologies enable health care providers to detect and treat the early signs of chronic diseases that may lead to death and serving as front line defense against illnesses. Exceptional devices are designed to improve the quality of life and help patients manage their conditions. Also, they are successful in reducing the demand for advanced treatments while considering the development of resistance.
There is a range of consumer-friendly wearable and unobtrusive devices that have the authenticity of sensors to detect even the smallest variation in monitoring variables — these help in changing the way of treatments and making sure the outcomes to be more beneficial.
To get a good sense of the latest trend in technological innovations manifesting today, we have listed the top ten fixtures of technological innovations in medicinal sciences that are expected to drive the future of healthcare.
1. Genome editing
CRISPR, also known as “for clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeat,” has emerged as the discovery of the century. The technological innovation has become a breathtaking disruptor, revealing the utility and ease in genome editing. With the help of CRISPR, scientists have found innovative ways to alter the genomic coding of an organism to get the desired outcomes.
The precision of DNA is still a challenging task; however, it has reduced the cost and time of gene editing, ultimately affecting a wide range of biomedical realm in engineered devices. Comparing with the traditional PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technique, CRISPR has been succeeded in adjusting real-time genome coding to get the desired outcome, including the eradication of pathogens and the elimination of genetic diseases.
2. Cancer Nano therapy
The need for more precise treatment options, including low-cost therapy, less invasive methods, and less complicated procedure than conventional ones, have been fulfilled with the innovations in nanotechnology. Thanks to the researcher, health care professionals can translate technology into lower health care investments, better patient outcomes, and broader access with maximum available resources.
It is surveyed by Mark Brown (a system analyst for Crowd Writer) that nowadays, Nano-devices are in widespread use. The inorganic nanoparticles that are synthesized from silver and gold are used in tumor imaging and subcellular functional study. Unfortunately, not all applications in medicine are as useful as alternatives, including organic dyes, fluorescent proteins, and radioisotopes.
Fortunately, treatment technologies emerging using Nano-materials are not much hands-on but more downright and aggressive in applications. NanoBots are the perfect example of the targeted drug delivery to defective cells while leaving healthy tissues unharmed. These devices are made from single-strand DNA and can be molded into desired shapes and structures. Just like a clamshell shaped strand can be used to protect a drug on an EN route to the desired site of action while releasing the active ingredient upon arrival. Today, there are DNA robots that can detect more than ten different types of cancers and are now applicable for tissue and nerve repair.
3. Brain-machine interfaces
In the past few years, there is renewed development of prosthetic limbs and devices. Currently, it is estimated by a research analyst of Academist Help named Walter Martin that 100,000 people in America have an upper-arm amputation, while around six million people are still paralyzed or handicapped. Many reputed organizations have doubled their efforts to reduce prices and drive performances for existing devices, translating neural signals into controlled limb movements.
The brain-machine interface (BMI) technologies have also been redesigned and many groups have launched and published clinical trials of these newer devices. The innovations are easy to use, safe to handle, and are specified for the home environment instead of the need for technical assistance.
Several approaches involve the conventional implant of sensors into the brain itself. However, new researches have more focused on the use of external sensory devices to transfer brain signals to the limbs and muscles with the use of assistive technologies.
Another interesting twist is to seek repair and regenerate damaged spinal cord with implants. They are made from polymer fibers that are multifunctional and thinner in size from human hair. They can be placed alongside the damaged neurons and can be used to transmit signals, deliver drugs, and guide light beams that are beneficial in optical nerve switches.
Also, these nerve repair fibers can be assembled and placed as 3D structures to assist and support natural nerve tissues and promote their growth. It is predicted that the technology can be used to improve and may treat spinal cord injuries along with neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders, including schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease.
4. Wireless implants
With the advantage of non-degradable and degradable plastics, scientists and biomedical engineers can create bio-absorbable devices. These can be placed in a human body, anywhere, and can be taken out or dissolve as per the need of the therapy.
The tools are continuing to aid doctors in measuring the pressure, temperature, and changes in the tissues within the vital organs. Additionally, as these devices are made to dissolve on themselves, they ultimately reduce the need for an additional cost and demand for surgeries.
5. Smart device apps
We live in a technology-driven world of artificial intelligence. Here most of the people prefer digitally-led services. Innovatively emerging technologies allow patients to get health care via digital devices. Hence, now they don’t have to wait in long queues and pre-booked appointments.
Some of the highly personalized apps allow patients to virtually communicate with health care providers and get instant medical advice. Also, patients can have beneficial access to healthcare whenever and wherever they need it. They are extremely useful in managing chronic illness by providing consistent, cost-effective, and convenient care.
6. Smart inhalers
As we all know that inhalers are the first-line treatment for asthma, but only if taken correctly. It is proven to be effective in more than 90% of the patients. However, according to research, only half of the patients have control over their condition, while most of them (94%) don’t know how to use inhalers correctly.
Hence, to aid the people living with asthma, Bluetooth enabled smart asthma inhalers have been developed to manage them better. A small device is attached to the inhaler, which keeps a record of every dose with accurate date and time and notifies the user if the treatment is correctly administered or not. The data is connected with an app on the patient’s smartphone to store and track the data. Moreover, it is proven to reduce the rate of reliever medicine and can offer more carefree days.
7. Robotic surgery
Robotic surgeries are successfully used as a minimally invasive technique to aid in control, flexibility, and precision. It enables surgeons to perform complicated and complex procedures that can be impossible to do with human hands and are highly tricky otherwise.
Fortunately, with the development of technology and its invasion into augmented reality, robotic surgery allows surgeons to get real-time information of the patient during an operation. However, these inventions have raised some serious concerns regarding the replacement of human surgeons. Hence, they are more likely to be used to assist surgeons and leverage their work to enhance productivity now and in the future.
8. Artificial organs
Undoubtedly, bioprinting is an unbelievable yet useful technology that emerged as a miracle in biosciences. Initially, it was considered a groundbreaking technology to regenerate skin cells, especially for burn victims, and has given more exciting possibilities to get better outcomes.
Surprisingly, scientists can create synthetic ovaries, blood vessels, and pancreas with high accuracy. These synthetic artificial organs are capable of growing inside the patient’s bodies and can replace original damaged organs with compatibility.
Fortunately, the body’s ability to adapt to the artificial organs that are not rejected by the immune system is revolutionary in the history of transplantation. Also, it has been saving millions of lives that are dependent on the life-saving transplantations every year.
9. Wearable monitors
There is being an increasing demand for wearable devices since their launch in the last decade. Patients can use their smartphones to monitor and track their health and fitness, including heartbeat, walking steps, and sleeping patterns.
In conjunction with the rise of chronic illnesses, including heart problems and diabetes, these advanced wearable technologies are more focused on combatting them by supporting patients to track and improve their quality of life.
The need can be estimated with the example of a groundbreaking Apple Series 4 that made headlines in 2018. The watch was designed with an integrated ECG monitor and a heart rhythm detector. It was capable of detecting some of the potentially dangerous heart diseases earlier than usual diagnostic tests. Also, customers were raving the lifesaving technology within few days of its launch. The device is estimated to cross the sales forecast of $32B by the end of 2024.
10. 3D printing
3D printers have been top-notch and quickly showed the hottest innovations in the market. They can be used to create implants and reliable joints for replacements. Prosthetics that are made through 3D printing are being increasingly popular with their differentiating features and functioning of being bespoke for digital applications. They can be custom made to match the individual needs of patients with the flexibility of measurements down to the millimeters. This gives an unpredictable level of satisfaction, comfort, and mobility to the user.
Additionally, they are designed to create both soluble and long-lasting items. It can be used to create a variety of models, including print pills having multiple drugs. They are likely to aid patients with the timing, dosage, monitoring, and scheduling of poly medication.
Undoubtedly, this is just the beginning. When it comes to combining engineering efforts with the medical science innovations, possibilities are endless with the opportunities being ready to be explored.