Health care technology is revolutionizing how health care providers diagnose diseases and how patients manage their conditions. Technology empowers healthcare providers with unprecedented opportunities to engage and support patients through new solutions like telehealth, digital biometric monitoring, and technology-assisted coaching.
Real-time Diagnostics Tools
One of the fascinating improvements in health care technology is the intelligent surgical knife or iKnife. A medical researcher in the UK has improved the traditional surgical knife that uses electrical power to warm the tissue to make small incisions with minimized blood loss. The new and improved iKnife analyzes the vaporized smoke from the micro burning of the tissue on a mass spectrometer to detect biological chemicals. Ideally, the iKnife will be able to provide valuable medical data, such as identifying whether the tissue is malignant with cancer. This intelligent surgical knife is welcomed by surgeons who always must face the possibility that they may miss some cancerous tissue, which will then regrow into another tumor. In order to avoid leaving cancerous tissue behind, most surgeons remove surrounding tissue, but the iKnife will prevent this problem.
Gamifying Healthy Choices
One of the biggest problems faced by healthcare providers around the country is motivating and monitoring patients with regard to improving health, choices, and lifestyles. Getting people to comply with sound medical advice will drastically decrease the cost of delivering health care. There are innovative solutions being proposed through medical technology start-up firms. For example, there is a medication bottle that glows a certain color when the pill is either taken on time or missed. There are micro-tiny digestible sensors in pills and can transmit digestion data to providers and patients. Many health insurance companies are using interactive, self-paced fitness and health platforms to track medical data. Some people even say that the globally popular Pokemon Go is a medical app because it motivates people to walk more and get exercise.
Wearables and other health sensors are the future of medical monitoring. These solutions provide continual access to real-time, high-quality data that is used to understand an individual’s choices, lifestyle, and level of health. Wearables are being used to drive positive behavioral changes. While wearables are the future of health care, the costs of high-tech, quantified health technology is expensive. Besides this, current wearable technology mainly provides raw data that needs a trained professional to analyze, understand and translate. For example, most fitness wearable users stop using their devices because they don’t find it sufficiently useful. However, as mobile device app development continues to change the world, wearables will become a powerful influence on decision making and behavior changes. Some even hope that wearables can remotely connect to PACS systems to provide data uploads and updates.
3D Medical Printing
The manufacturing industry has embraced 3D medical printing as a key to offering customizable and scalable solutions. Now, the biotechnology industry is striving to print living cells. Researchers hope one day to be able to quickly print 3D simple organs and small body parts for patients. Startups in the pharmaceutical industry are trying to 3D print drugs. This technology is strongly opposed by the traditional pharmaceutical world that maintains a monopoly on forcing the public to purchase expensive, lifesaving medications. It also presents new IPR and trademark challenges because small companies may soon be able to print any kind of drug that contains patented molecules. 3D printing is currently being used in rehabilitation and occupational medicine to produce prosthetic hands.
State and local government agencies are also using the power of healthcare technology to drive community health and disease education prevention programs. These consist of multimedia campaigns and mobile-friendly websites that provide helpful information.