The proliferation of technological devices into our lives has happened so seamlessly that its sometimes surprising just how many devices exist to facilitate everyday interactions. You can video conference with people in China, turn your house lights on from an app on your Smartphone, and wear a device that transmits health information to your doctor. Even now, devices are being developed that can result in successful prototyping of personal genome sequencing, which can result in telling you the diseases to which you are susceptible – thereby allowing you to alter your diet and make other preemptive moves.
In this article, we take a look at where the future of medical technology seems to be taking us. The coming advancements will affect treatments and likely deliver long-sought cures; or, at least, novel methods of delivery that improve the efficacy of present drugs. How will all of this unfold? In fact, many of the pieces are already in place…
The World Wide Web as a Source of Diagnostic Information
It is blazingly clear that the Internet has led to an availability of information that previous generations could hardly have imagined. When combined with the sheer number of devices that can render web pages, this has resulted in a tripling of the number of seniors who research health information online – and it took just five years to see this increase. Going forward, it is clear that the plenitude and quality of health info will only be increased and improved as the years pass. You can obtain information on any combination of symptoms, as well as recommended treatments, before going to see your primary care physician.
Increase Efficiency in Patient Care
Another inevitable aspect of healthcare technology is how much more efficient patient care is becoming. Healthcare professionals have the benefit of portable devices that relay a patient’s medical history, which cuts down on human error because of the natural redundancy of the devices. This is especially important in light of the fact that many institutions are adopting electronic health record storage.
The digital format is capable of storing and correlating far more information in a tiny space than the analog method, which allows doctors and nurses to have much more at their fingertips. The technological revolution also translates to doctors having the ability to access the latest in research, medical books, new diagnostic techniques, etc – which, of course, ultimately helps you the patient.
Greater Patient Reach
Ten years ago, the best that your doctor could do was reach you by phone or email. Today, your physician can greet you warmly via video conferencing; set up meetings with experts from around the world for more serious health issues, and give you diagnoses via smartphone. This is such a breakthrough in its capacity for greater patient reach, that it has its very own special name: telemedicine. In particular, it is proving to be a godsend for people with limited access to medical facilities; those in rural areas of developed nations, as well as those in underdeveloped nations.
Advanced Technology for Serious Diseases
One of the most promising areas of research today is that of nanotechnology. It turns out that, when you make some semi-common elements very small; as in, down to the nanometer range, they take on special abilities. These abilities, like nanosilver, can sometimes be used to treat various illnesses.
Cancer nanotherapy is one such application that is showing tremendous promise. The prime attribute of the particles is their ability to attack cancerous cells, all while leaving normal, healthy cells untouched. Even today, there are already applications for silver and gold nano-ions in tumor imaging and as probes on the submicroscopic level, which is giving medical researchers a much better understanding of cancerous environments. This will, eventually – and sooner rather than later – translate to improved healthcare for some of the deadliest ailments know to man.
Improved Quality of Life Post-Treatment
In the past, you might be cured of an illness or other, and nonetheless be relegated to a lower quality of life as a result of the damage already done. Better machines, medicines and treatments are able to merge palliative care with effective care. Debilitating illnesses like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes are being treated to provide the patient with a better quality of life by sophisticated methods devised by researchers from all over the world.
Data and Analytics to Predict Medical Health Trends
This is one of the more globally important features of improving technology. With the ability to sift through and collate massive amounts of data, today’s computers can produce predictive health information. For example, if you’re curious about when the next flu season is going to hit, you can perform a search on Google, or use an app to uncover detailed information. This means you and can prepare yourself and/or your children for upcoming outbreaks with a timely flu shot, or bolster your vitamin intake if you prefer to avoid shots.
The ability to get region-specific with contagious diseases is also very useful as a preventative measure. Look for these things to become even more targeted going forward, as advances in medical technology continues to leave an indelible mark in our everyday lives.