Healthcare is constantly changing and evolving. As medical technologies become more advanced, the world of healthcare has naturally turned some of its focus from fixing many health issues to working on ways to help to prevent them.
We see the evidence of this in all the preventative information we receive as consumers because healthcare providers understand the value of preventative medicine over long-term treatment.
So how do we predict what will cause us to get sick and how do we prevent it before it happens? We turn to technology. According to Futurist, Jim Carroll, there are 17,000 healthcare apps for smart phones, and 78% of consumers use them for things like monitoring glucose levels, tracking fitness, and staying on top of other types of preventive activities and habits.
Technology is certainly becoming more mobile and with that comes a lot of implications for the world of healthcare. Medical Futurist Bertalan Mesko gives his response to this by highlighting some of the life saving mobile technology of the future. Let’s examine some of the developments.
It has long been known that DNA sequencing is used to determine a person’s genome, but now sequencing machines are becoming more affordable and the availability of sequencers is increasing, making it possible to access our own genome quite easily. Not only will doctors be able to identify certain genes prone to cancer, but also drugs and dosages will be customized to our own genomic code.
Technology is increasing in our hospitals as well. The virtualization of hospitals makes it possible for doctors to monitor a patient’s vitals in their own home, using real-time analytics and location intelligence.
Likewise, technologies such as Google Glass are already being used to live-stream surgeries, allowing viewers to see what is happening from the surgeon’s perspective. This type of augmented reality will soon be able to display a patient’s medical records and direct an ambulance to a patient’s exact location. In some cases, technology such as 3D printing is even replacing the need for hospitals all together. One example is the story about a father who printed a prosthetic hand for his son. Another example is the fact that 3D printing is now making it possible to create medical devices in underdeveloped countries.
With all the possibilities that technology presents to the healthcare industry, it’s not surprising that many manufacturers of medical devices, pharmaceuticals and other medical oriented products are using these technologies to better keep healthcare providers informed.
The Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry recently posted an article in Mobile Health highlighting healthcare innovation by non-healthcare companies. Here are some examples of how this is being done.
- Verizon recently won FDA clearance for its converged health management, a software solution allowing data collection from various devices to be securely transmitted to physicians.
- Qualcomm, a semiconductor company is also venturing into this area by working with medical device and other healthcare stakeholders to create a communications solution that aggregates data from various devices.
- AT&T created a cloud based software working with blue tooth enabled devices that can check a patient’s vitals and transmit information. Similarly, Qualcomm is also venturing into this area.
- Canon opened their Healthcare Optics Research Lab to develop biomedical optical imaging and medical robotics technologies. The research and development is focusing on cardiovascular disease detection, brain imaging and more.
The exponential growth in the technology field creates unlimited possibilities for the healthcare industry. From more connected hospitals to enhanced research and development to more streamlined and cohesive flows of information between all entities in the medical world, the sky is the limit. What will be next?