Modern healthcare has made leaps and bounds over the past fifty years. Even the past decade has seen advances emerge that were once considered the realm of science fiction. Many of these breakthroughs have been the direct result of technology. Here are six technologies that have directly contributed to a revolution in healthcare delivery. In order to stay relevant, healthcare has had to embrace technology and the consumerization of healthcare.
1. Artificial Intelligence
There are many branches on the AI tree; however, deep learning is one that has already had an outsized impact on healthcare. Deep learning has proven effective at analyzing large data sets and making critical connections that might otherwise be missed. Emerging technologies can accommodate the massive neural network batch size required to produce useful results in medicine.
2. 3D Printing
If the idea of turning on a printer and constructing a new limb or organ seems far-fetched, you might want to reconsider your stance. The latest 3D printers show that they have a definite place in healthcare. Bioprinting with tissues to develop organs is still in the development stages; however, these technologies are already well established:
- Custom-designed prosthetics
- Replacement valves and other organ components
- Models for medical training
- Structural elements of replacement joints
- PPE and other medical supplies
3. Virtual Reality
Virtual reality has found several avenues where it is helpful. First, it has been used extensively to train medical students and surgeons. VR allows a surgeon to simulate a complex procedure before doing it on a living patient. This is incredibly helpful in complex cases, such as deep brain surgeries or separating conjoined twins.
The other area where VR has proven incredibly beneficial is injury recovery and pain management. It can simulate specific movements, generating neurological responses. At the same time, VR has also emerged as an effective strategy to reduce pain after certain injuries or procedures. In some cases, it is being used to distract patients from painful procedures.
4. Mobile Healthcare Delivery
If you have ever seen a mobile MRI or blood collection bus, you are somewhat familiar with mobile healthcare delivery. It allows clinicians to bring needed services and tests directly to patients that would otherwise not have access to them. In addition to the previous examples, mobile healthcare often also includes hearing and vision screenings and treatment, mammography, dental clinics, and routine physicals.
To accomplish this, these companies have well-designed platforms with significant DevOps automation. It takes an advanced system to help pre-screen patients and connect them with a practitioner who can provide meaningful assistance.
5. Wearables and Smart Phones
Newer wearables can monitor a host of health statistics that go far beyond tracking the number of steps you take. Most monitor your heart rate and oxygen levels, while some also tell you about your sleep levels and quality, blood sugar levels, and how much activity you engage in.
In some cases, these two technologies go together; in others, they remain apart. For example, you may use your smartphone to conduct virtual visits with your healthcare provider while never considering a wearable. You could also choose to monitor basic health stats on a wearable that is not connected to another device. On the other hand, you might decide to automatically send the information from your wearable directly to your healthcare provider, so she is aware of any changes in your condition.
6. DNA-Based Medicine
There is a realistic hope that many illnesses that have previously gone undiagnosed can not only be identified but detected and treated earlier thanks to genetics and DNA-based medicines. Advances in genetic screenings mean many disorders are diagnosed before or immediately after birth.
Additionally, treatments can now be tailored to each individual with gene therapy. It allows doctors to edit defective genes so the body repairs itself and has revolutionized the way genetic disorders are treated.
Technology has revolutionized healthcare. Some notable advances include 3D printing, AI, gene therapy, wearables, virtual reality, and mobile healthcare.