The medical technology industry tends to go through a radical transformation every few generations. In the twenty-first century, as the pace of computer technology intensifies, so too does the rate of innovation in the medical field.
Radical new concepts are being put into practice that shorten recovery times and make it easier for patients of any age to commit to the life-saving procedures they desperately need. These five innovations in particular are representative of a bold new healthcare landscape in which patients can recuperate with a fraction of the stress typically associated with invasive procedures.
Revolutionary devices such as the iPad are being put to use in medical scenarios in which patients are allowed to recover in more comfortable surroundings. Medical workers can connect these devices to standard equipment and then use apps to monitor blood pressure, weight, glucose levels and overall activity.
This allows high compliance patients to recover in the comfort of their own homes or at the very least to recover in the hospital with a minimum of interruption. These Wi-Fi enabled devices can automatically upload their data to a central hub where it is stored in a database.
In the past, even common surgeries such as joint replacements would leave long, jagged scars. In those days, the most steady surgical device was the surgeon’s hand. As nimble as the human hand is, it lacks the dexterity required to make very fine surgical incisions. The standard mode of surgery is highly traumatic on the body, and recovery times tend to be long.
On the horizon, however, are robotic systems that can create tiny incisions and operate on very small areas of the body. The robot responds to human movements, but it does so by averaging the input and then scaling it down. The end result is smooth, minute movement. There are also new minimally invasive endoscopic spine surgeries that allow for smaller incisions and quicker recovery.
Although the recovery time for a typical endoscopy is low, the procedure can cause some discomfort and some people avoid it on principle. A new procedure pioneered in Japan, however, has made it possible for patients to provide doctors with a high-resolution look at their insides by simply taking a pill.
The pill contains a micro-camera that snaps pictures of the GI tract as it moves from the mouth to the anus. Some doctors say that the procedure does not provide the same in-depth analysis of the colon as the standard procedure does, but proponents of the procedure claim that it will provide a good pre-screening tool that can improve patient compliance.
More Comfortable Scanners
The MRI is an essential diagnostic tool that can help doctors spot irregularities before they become life-threatening. However, the typical MRI chamber is very small, leaving those prone to claustrophobia with little recourse but to use lower resolution scanning techniques.
However, a new breed of MRI machines are becoming available that are 10 centimeters wider. These new machines allow patients to enter head or feet first and accommodate individuals up to 500 lbs instead of the typical 350 lbs.
Electronic Medical Records
The last thing a person in pain wants to do is fill out lengthy forms. With the advent of secure cloud technology, patients can store their medical records in digital form. This can allow doctors to access their data faster and track that data over time. Electronic medical records can also identify patients who are due for regular checkups.
These medical innovations are the first of a new generation. As procedures become less invasive and healing times go down, patient compliance will improve. As a result, overall health of the population will increase. Computer technology will become smaller, and with it, medical workers will gain a better understanding of how the human body works and how to treat it more efficiently when something goes awry.