The future of healthcare is shaping up in front of our very eyes with advances in digital healthcare technologies, such as artificial intelligence, VR/AR, 3D-printing, robotics or nanotechnology. We have to familiarize with the latest developments in order to be able to control technology and not the other way around. The future of healthcare lies in working hand-in-hand with technology and healthcare workers have to embrace emerging healthcare technologies in order to stay relevant in the coming years.
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Every day, medical innovations lengthen and improve lives across the globe. Over the course of the next decade, as twenty-first century technologies combine and accelerate, healthcare is set for a revolution.
Technology and humans hand-in-hand for a better healthcare
I honestly believe that this is the only way forward. Technology can only aid and improve our lives if we stand on its shoulder and if we are always (at least) two steps ahead of it. But if we adhere to this rule, the cooperation between people and technology could result in amazing achievements.
In medicine and healthcare, digital technology could help transform unsustainable healthcare systems into sustainable ones, equalize the relationship between medical professionals and patients, provide cheaper, faster and more effective solutions for diseases – technologies could win the battle for us against cancer, AIDS or Ebola – and could simply lead to healthier individuals living in healthier communities.
But as the saying goes, one has to be a master of his own house, so it is worth starting “the future” with the betterment of our own health through digital technologies, as well as changing our own attitude towards the concept of health as such and towards medicine and healthcare.
Here are some of the most fascinating examples of health technology that may well shape the medical industry of the future.
E-Health describes the use of information and communication technologies and applying them to the healthcare sector in areas such as telemedicine, mobile health or Electronic Patient Records (EHRs). In particular, E-Health platforms address cross-institutional, networked business and supply processes that are highly relevant to the modern healthcare industry and go far beyond simply administrative activities such as billing, purchasing equipment etc.
2.Smart Wearable Devices
Wearable technology has a broad spectrum of applications in healthcare. In recent years, fitness bracelets with features such as steps counting, pulse measurement or tracking sleep cycle have been very popular, especially among young people.
This comes to say that the newer generations, including millennial’s and Generation Z, are more concerned about taking care of their health. By keeping track of essential metrics, smart wearable devices allow users both to be trendy and lead a healthy lifestyle.
3.Virtual Reality Gaming The Healthcare System
In healthcare applications, virtual reality can do so much more. Virtual reality uses computer technology to create a realistic environment for us. Unlike a movie, in which we are watching a scene, virtual reality can put us into that scene. Within the healthcare world, it has an incredible and far-reaching impact. For example, virtual reality is being used for medical education and the treatment of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
4. The selfie self-diagnosis
University of Washington smartphone app BiliScreen has been developed to allow users to take a selfie in order to screen themselves for a range of diseases, including pancreatic cancer.
The app is trained to focus on the whites of the eyes. It can detect a slight yellowing of the eye, an early symptom of pancreatic cancer before the naked eye is able to do so.Could we soon be able to diagnose ourselves for all sorts of ailments using our smartphones?
We are living at the dawn of the nanomedicine age. I believe that nanoparticles and nanodevices will soon operate as precise drug delivery systems, cancer treatment tools or tiny surgeons.
As far back as 2014, researchers from the Max Planck Institute designed scallop-like microbots designed to literally swim through your body fluids. Small, smart pills like the pill are already in use for colon exams in a noninvasive, patient-friendly way. In late 2018,MIT researcher created an electronic pill that can be controlled wirelessly and relay diagnostic information or release drugs in response to smartphone commands.
One of the most exciting and fastest growing fields of healthcare is robotics; developments range from robot companions through surgical robots until pharmabotics, disinfectant robots or exoskeletons.
2019 was a great year for exoskeletons. It saw Europe’s first exoskeleton aided surgery and a tetraplegic man capable of controlling an exoskeleton with his brain! There are loads of other applications for these sci-fi suits from aiding nurses through lift elderly patients to helping patients with spinal cord injury.
Robot companions also have their place in healthcare to help alleviate loneliness, treat mental health issues or even help children with chronic illness. The Jibo, Pepper, Paro and Buddy robots are all existing examples. Some of them even have touch sensors, cameras and microphones for their owners to interact with them. For instance, ikki from an Australian startup is helping children with chronic illness monitor their medications, temperature and breathing rate while keeping them company with music and stories.
Peter Drucker is credited with saying, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” That’s something that the healthcare industry has taken to heart. Modern-day researchers and scientists are rushing against time to invent, implement and imagine life-altering, lifesaving, life-enhancing creations.
In the end, our lives will be better for it.