Medical Technology has advanced far enough with robotic surgery to Nanotechnology based Cancer Cure, But What will the future look like? Here let us have a brief insight into the health care in the future!!
1) AUGMENTED REALITY
The digital contact lens patented by Google aims to change the course of diabetes management by measuring blood glucose levels from tears. While the prototype is still undergoing rigorous testing, Microsoft too has come up with Hololens which aims to change the course of Medical Education by projecting digital information into what we are seeing.
Also, A clinic in Germany started experimenting with an application using augmented reality on iPads in the OR. During operations, surgeons can see through anatomical structures such as blood vessels in the liver without opening organs therefore they can perform more precise excisions.
2) GOOGLE BRAIN
Google is working on to create the ultimate artificial intelligence controlled brain, where we could literally upload our minds to a computer and create a digital self, based on the neurological information. With Artificial Intelligence picking up pace in the current decade, days are not far ahead for us to see the unveiling of “Google Brain”.
3) MEDICAL 3D PRINTING
There are already many examples of 3D Printing in Medicine, with companies in the US and UK working on to 3D Print arms and legs for physically disabled or an amputee. But what will be the future of 3D Printing in Medicine? Well, the biotechnology industry is currently working on to produce living cells by 3D printing and pharmaceutical industry is working on to 3D Print drugs. However, regulating such technology would be really tough as anyone will be able to 3D print any drugs.
4) GAMIFYING BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE
Adherence and compliance of a patient represent crucial issues in improving patients’ health and decreasing the cost of delivering healthcare. Several start-ups have targeted this issue with different solutions such as a pill bottle that glows blue when a medication dose should be taken and red when a dose is missed, or tiny digestible sensors that can be placed in pills and can transmit pill digestion data to physicians and family members. While patients do not like the term adherence as they want to be partners with their caregivers rather than following orders, health insurance companies will use more and more data to check whether the patients comply with their prescriptions to decrease their insurance costs. The wildly popular Pokemon Go motivates people to walk more which might lead to fighting obesity while playing a game.
5) REAL-TIME DIAGNOSTICS
The intelligent surgical knife (iKnife) was developed by Zoltan Takats of Imperial College London and works by using an old technology where an electrical current heats tissue to make incisions with minimal blood loss. With the iKnife, the vaporized smoke is analyzed by a mass spectrometer to detect the chemicals in the biological sample. This means it can identify whether the tissue is malignant real-time. Surgeons will love this surgical Jedi knife which can significantly reduce the length of operations.
6) HOLOGRAPHIC DATA INPUT
While better and better data input solutions arise, we will probably not even need hardware to add data to a laptop or PC as screens and keyboards will be projected on the wall or on the table making it simple and accessible everywhere in the clinical settings. Holographic and virtual keyboards will make us forget about smartphones and tablets. Only small projectors will be needed, while the data will be stored exclusively in the cloud.
7) MULTIFUNCTIONAL RADIOLOGY
Radiology is one of the fastest growing and developing areas of medicine, therefore this might be the speciality in which we can expect to see the biggest steps in developments. In the future, one multi-functional machine will be able to detect plenty of medical problems, biomarkers and symptoms at once.
8) IN SILICO CLINICAL TRIALS
Switching from long and extremely expensive clinical trials to tiny microchips which can be used as models of human cells, organs or whole physiological systems provides clear advantages. Drugs or components could be tested on these without limitations which would make clinical trials faster and even more accurate (in each case the conditions and circumstances would be the same). The Organs-on-Chips technology developed by Harvard University is able to use stem cells to mimic organs of the body with a series of devices. Many experts believe that this technology could revolutionize clinical trials and replace animal testing completely. It could also improve cancer care.
9) REFORMED MEDICAL EDUCATION
For the first time in the history of medicine, on 14 April 2016, Shafi Ahmed cancer surgeon performed an operation using a virtual reality camera at the Royal London hospital. Everyone could participate in the operation in real time through the Medical Realities website and the VR in OR app. No matter whether a promising medical student from Cape Town, an interested journalist from Seattle or a worried relative, everyone could follow through two 360 degree cameras how the surgeon removed a cancerous tissue from the bowel of the patient. Such possibilities will revolutionize the way medicine is taught.
10) ROBOT ASSISTANT
With the rapid development of the industry, robots gradually emerge from the sci-fi movies and enter the world of healthcare. With the growing number of elderly patients, introducing robot assistants to care homes and hospitals is inevitable. It could be a fair solution from moving patients to performing basic procedures.
The TUG robot is a robust device, able to carry around a multitude of racks, carts or bins up to 453 kilograms that contain medications, laboratory specimens or other sensitive materials. Riba or Robot for Interactive Body Assistance is somewhat similar to the TUG robot, however it is rather used at homes with care patients who need assistance. Its Japanese version, the Robear is shaped as a giant, gentle bear with a cartoonish head. They both can lift and move patients in and out of bed into a wheelchair, help patients to stand, and to turn them to prevent bed sores as many times as you want.
The robot in the picture below is the prototype made by a company based in California that aims at combining robotics and image-analysis technology so then it can find a good vein in your arm and also draw your blood. In the next step, it will also perform analysis on the blood from detecting biomarkers to obtaining genetic data.
The future looks exciting!!
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