Technology has rapidly disrupted medicine by providing solutions to long-standing problems, such as access to trauma centers and long-term monitoring of healthcare conditions.
Below are our handpicked top eight advances in medical technology that have made once-unimaginable progress for patients and healthcare providers world-wide.
Patients now have access to wearable health monitoring devices, and other advanced tech products, such as apple watches, to improve their healthcare experience. This is only the beginning of wearable technology, though.
Google Glass, and other smart glasses are becoming popular for their wide benefits, starting with virtual medicine. Up to 30% of Americans do not live near a trauma center, causing problems for doctors to practice procedures and for patients to access equipped care. Google Glass allows doctors to view those in need, in real time, to assist with diagnostic and specified care.
Smart glasses also improve the in-person doctor patient experience, increasing satisfaction for both. Real-time education, in person or at a distance is made possible, effective, and efficient with the technology provided by smart glasses.
3-D printing alone has unquestionably contributed to massive advances in all areas of medicine. Printed embryonic stem cells could one day be used to create tissue that could help test drugs and grow new organs. Organovo has already made hearts beat with printed blood vessels and cardiac tissue. Other scientists have been working on printing cartilage and bones, as well as replacement organs. 3-D printers also assist in the classroom by providing students with life-like models to aid in education.
Digestible sensors are an FDA approved method to convey data and information about patients to their healthcare providers to improve and customize care. It would be ingested by a patient and serve the same purpose as a physical exam, yet provide more specific data. Patients could also view the data on smart phones and computers for self-monitoring. Another important element: they don’t require batteries because they run on energy from the human body so they are completely digestible.
Dentists use technology for a number of purposes, including: xrays, 3-D models and graphics, dentures, implants, and air compressors for bonding veneers. The patient experience is also improved with long term data storage that dentists can use to monitor teeth condition over time.
Electronic Health Records
More than 80% of hospitals are currently using electronic health records (EHR) to unify and store patient information and records. One primary function is integration, which allows doctors to access all patient data (pharmacy, orders, documentation, etc.) in one system. This makes the patient experience more cohesive and increases efficiency for the health care providers. Before EHR, time was lost for doctors at new jobs, as they were learning the new systems because all hospitals used different systems to save data. With EHR this is not the case.
Close to 3 million people use home monitoring systems and tools to reduce un-need time spent in hospitals and doctors offices, and allow patients to have real-time insight into their own health status. The applications are wide, from simple nutrition, up to heart condition monitoring. This data can also be transmitted, in real time, across far distances so that doctors can monitor their patients healthcare from remote locations.
For patients who suffer chronic migraines, cluster headaches, and other debilitating chronic head or facial pain, electron aspirin is life changing. Doctors implant a permanent nerve stimulating device in the upper gum on the side of the head normally affected by the headache. When head pain is coming the patient uses a remote tool that he or she places on the cheek nearest to the implant, affecting the SPG nerve bundle that causes pain.
Nanomedicine involves the smallest, nano-sized, devices for a variety of applications in medicine. Some applications include imaging the internal organs, microsurgeries, controlling the release of hormones, enzymes or other therapeutic chemicals at selected sites, and monitoring of glucose and other levels.