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Tech solutions revolutionalising the health sector

Many industries have been disrupted by the influx of new technologies in the Information Age. Healthcare is no different. Here are some, which are impacting this industry

1. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare is the use of complex algorithms and software to estimate human cognition in the analysis of complicated medical data. What distinguishes AI technology from traditional technologies in healthcare is the ability to gain information, process it and give a well-defined output to the end-user.

AI programmes have been developed and applied to practices such as diagnosis processes, treatment protocol development, drug development, personalised medicine, and patient monitoring and care.

Artificial intelligence has had a dramatic impact on many industries, and healthcare is no exception.

2. Virtual healthcare

When a person feels unwell, driving to a doctor’s office, sitting in a waiting room surrounded by other sick people and potentially waiting for an hour or longer to get into the examination room are not attractive prospects. For those reasons and others, people are increasingly open to telemedicine visits that let them get assessed by physicians using technology such as video conferencing or mobile apps.

Convenience, ease of use, and travel times to their closest doctor are main reasons patients choose virtual care. On the flip side, many are concerned about the quality of care, or fear a loss of  personal connection with a doctor.

3. Nanomedicine

Nanomedicine is different from conventional approaches in a sense that conventional medicine’s approach is based on a response to problems at tissue level and by the time that symptoms become apparent to the patient or clinician, the disease may often be at an advanced stage.

However, in nanomedicine, the goal is to detect changes and problems at the molecular and cellular levels and to treat them before they spread out. Compared to conventional medicines, it’s much better at precise targeting and delivery systems, paving the way towards combating complex conditions such as cancer.

4. 3D Printing

3D printing has come a long way since its debut, especially in its uses in the healthcare industry. The technology offers faster prototypes, creating everything from dental implants, personalised prosthetics to “poly-pills” at a fraction of the cost.

The customisable aspect of 3D printing is revolutionising organ transplants and tissue repair, and it’s even able to produce realistic skin for burn victims.

5. Wearable’s

Wearable medical devices and sensors are simply another way to collect data. Anything we are currently using where a smart sensor could be is part of that solution.

People today use their phone to track everything from their steps, physical fitness and heartbeat, to their sleeping patterns. They can send alerts to the user, for example, to get more exercise and can share this information to doctors (and AI systems) for additional data points on the needs and habits of patients.

6. Virtual Reality

Although it’s normally been associated with entertainment, Virtual Reality (VR) is making waves in healthcare as well. The multi-sensory, immersive experience that VR provides can benefit both physicians and patients by training surgeons in a realistic and low-risk simulated environment and offering therapeutic potential and rehabilitation for acute pain and anxiety disorders.

7. Medical robots

A medical robot might not perform your appendectomy, but might assist the surgeon who does. It is made up of cameras and articulated robotic arms. Specialised video cameras peer into the area of the body being operated upon.

The high-zoom, high-resolution cameras give the surgeon a super-human view of the surgical area. Using any of various attachments, the robot arm can under control of the surgeon make incisions, tie sutures, and cauterise blood vessels, among other things.

8. Augmented Reality AR is a technology capable of revolutionising the efficiency and cost optimisation aspects of surgery while improving the error rates owing to the high degree of precision offered in terms of surgical navigation and locating targets within the patient’s body. Along with this comes the parallel benefits of enhanced surgeon comfort, reduced effort, among others.

9. Blockchain

Remember the time you visited a different in-network doctor, and he/she didn’t know your entire medical history? Blockchain allows patients to visit any facility or affiliated physician in the health system and have their unified medical record accessible at the point-of-care, thereby enabling physicians to access entire medical histories and provide personalised clinical guidance, without having ever seen the patient before.

10. Precision medicine 

As medical technology advances, it is becoming more and more personalised to individual patients. Precision medicine, for example, allows physicians to select medicines and therapies to treat diseases, such as cancer, based on an individual’s genetic make-up.

This personalised medicine is far more effective as it attacks tumours based on the patient’s specific genes and proteins, causing gene mutations and making it more easily destroyed by cancer meds.

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