If there’s any industry that needs constant innovation, it’s healthcare. Industry practitioners are always under pressure to provide the best care possible, improving outcomes while reducing costs and all while following the highest regulatory standards of the profession and those set by the government as well.
Thankfully, the fast pace of technological development has paved the way for a lot of innovations that have changed the game for healthcare. From more affordable and personalized treatments to more efficient day-to-day operations, various innovations have advanced the way healthcare organizations approach the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Here are just a few of such innovations.
Artificial Intelligence and Real-Time Analysis
Artificial intelligence in healthcare is usually geared toward the use of data and the development algorithms, which are then employed to collect information that could be used for solving problems. For example, an algorithm can be programmed to review the medical records of a patient and then put it side by side all the available procedures and medicines to find the most suitable course of treatment for a specific patient. This results in a more personalized approach, which is more ideal than creating a blanket solution that not all patients may respond to favorably.
Artificial intelligence solutions can also be used to predict who is more likely to be transferred to the intensive care unit by continuously monitoring the health status of all the patients. This is a labor-intensive task that doctors and nurses won’t be able to do as quickly and efficiently. With this kind of predictive and analytic AI model, the deterioration of a patient’s health can be prevented because they could be immediately given the care they need before their condition worsens in the first place.
In most cases, these AI solutions will likewise also rely on advanced real-time anaytics software solutions. This is necessary because of the sheer amount of information that need to be processed. By using such tools, hundreds or even thousands of patient information can be processed and analyzed even as they change in real time, allowing doctors and everyone else on the care continuum to make the best decisions possible.
3D printing has come a long way from 1983, when Chuck Hall developed the first-ever 3D printer and made a black eye wash cup. Today, 3D printing can be used to produce low-cost, highly customized products such as prosthetics and implants that are tailor-fit to the individual physiological needs of patients.
3D printers can also be used to engineer tissues and organs; a prototype printer that can produce human skin has also been recently released, which can spell the end of painful and complicated skin graft processes. The concept of the “polypill” has also been tested with 3D printing. This technology is meant to reduce the need to take different pills since one polypill can contain multiple drugs with different release times.
Genetic sequencing sounds like a concept out of science fiction. In essence, however, it is simply using the genetic information of patients as blueprints so that doctors and clinicians can better understand both human biology and diseases, and how they respond to various treatments. This leads to precision and customized medicine, where healthcare practitioners can identify people who are at risk of a certain disease and thus prescribe preemptive therapies. Genetic sequencing is also being used in pharmacogenomics, or the predetermination of whether a patient would respond favorably to a certain drug and thus avoid adverse reactions.
Other current applications of genetic sequencing include non-invasive prenatal testing, cancer diagnosis and treatment, and faster and more precise genetic diagnosis. It may be a little more expensive than other medical procedures, but genetic sequencing is a one-time expense and researchers are working tirelessly to make this innovation more accessible and affordable to the public.
When people think about biosensors and health trackers, most would probably imagine things like the Fitbit that monitors vital signs, numbers of steps taken, and other top-level health data. However, biosensors and trackers can delve much deeper. Diabetics, for example, already benefit from monitors that detect their blood sugar levels and immediately and automatically deliver the required amount of insulin or at least alert them that it is time to take their medications.
These sensors can then collect such biomedical data and send it to your healthcare provider. On your next visit, your doctor would already know the details of your health condition and help them make better decisions. For example, they could recommend the continuation, change, or stoppage of a treatment based on your body’s responses.
These are only a few innovations that have changed and continue to change the face of healthcare. As scientists and researchers continue to improve these technologies, we can be hopeful that healthcare would become more affordable and effective for the benefit of all.