Medical breakthroughs continue to emerge alongside rapidly advancing technologies, and this potent combination heralds highly positive changes in the coming years for patient care. Efficient accuracy in diagnosis and treatment and bedside manner have sometimes conflicted concerning placing care as a priority, but technological advances will allow medical professionals to offer both to their patients. Providers must keep up with industry trends if they are to survive and help patients thrive, and powerful advances in tech up the stakes and hopes for what’s ahead.
The Rise of Telehealth
On the rise, telehealth will help save costs to patients and the healthcare system regarding accessibility, time and the hard-earned dollar. Also known as telemedicine, telehealth means using telecommunications tech to deliver a variety of medical, health and educational services to patients remotely — the tactics and technologies encompassing telehealth vary, and telehealth isn’t a single service.
What does that encompass? Telemedicine delivers public health and personal health care services through communication and information technology to facilitate consultation, diagnosis, education, treatment, and care management to the patient when the provider is located at a distance.
Providers utilize live video to diagnose and treat patients. Asynchronous transmission, such as x-rays or pre-recorded videos, get sent through a secured electronic communications device to a specialist to provide a service outside real-time or to evaluate a patient’s case further. If a patient can’t access specialty care in their region, that doesn’t mean they have to go without, especially when they can’t travel. Remote patient monitoring (RPM) allows a provider to transmit and receive data from monitoring a patient from afar, letting them stay at home.
BPA-Free Medical-Grade Products And Technology
Medical product manufacturers, like other industries, look to reduce their costs while providing a quality product — unfortunately, some of the technology out there had limits. For a long time, the healthcare industry and others relied on products riddled with bisphenol A (BPA), which has been linked to many health and environmental concerns in recent years. Newer materials like liquid silicone rubber provide innovative and safer alternatives to BPA-ridden plastic or metal for particular medical products.
Previously, medical device manufacturers struggled to locate materials that qualified and were biocompatible in addition to meeting regulations for custom molded assemblies and components. The benefits of overmolding technology will ensure high-quality patient surgical procedures.
Human intelligence reveals its depth, art, and beauty as history unfolds, but its capacity remains limited with all the knowledge humanity has accumulated. So, artificial intelligence steps in with rapid advancements to analyze, deduct and process that information even faster.
IBM’s Watson reads 40 million documents within 15 seconds flat, and the implications of such cloud-based tech for the healthcare industry is huge. IBM Watson Health joined forces last year with 14 leading institutions battling cancer, such as the B.C. Cancer Agency, to personalize and identify treatments for suffering patients. For what would take weeks to analyze, Watson deduces DNA insights, genetic profiles and relevant research from medical literature in seconds — resulting in a comprehensive, accurate and individual treatment plan.
IBM’s acquisition of Merge Healthcare adds to the innovation — Watson will analyze the medical history of the patient and compare it to emerging medical images in the company’s database to assist clinicians with identifying treatment options for stroke, heart disease, cancer and other serious conditions.
Taking advantage of this technology allows physicians to make more accurate diagnoses and mine medical records data to innovate service delivery and healthcare. Providers will be able to see which possible therapeutic candidates work best as highly-efficient drugs — such as through Atomwise.
In as little as a decade, you may see an AI assistant in the room with your doctor or specialist. You may avoid getting poked and prodded thanks to the innovations in technology altogether — your insurance will kick in with the assistance of telehealth. AI will pull your medical records right up scouring medical texts in the cloud and finding its analysis within seconds.
When your GP scans an injured area of your body, such as a broken hip, the results come back in a flash, and a 3-D printer down the hall prints your new hip. It gets embedded with sensors. You don’t even have to worry about getting dropped off for the procedure, and facial recognition and other data mining tools assist you with automatic registration.
Will your surgeon be a robot? Not this time. She enters the room with a smile. You laugh and share your wonder about the whole thing, saying you never thought you’d be here, in and out like this, ten years ago.