From exoskeletons that allow people with reduced mobility to walk again to implants printed with 3D technology. We met Watson, IBM’s quantum supercomputer capable of solving problems in a matter of minutes that would take years for conventional computers. Also how big data and artificial intelligence are changing the way we store health data and how we analyze it. But the sector does not stop there. What other advances in technology are emerging with their applications in the health sector?
It is difficult, if not almost impossible, to draw up a list that brings together all these advances. They are many and very varied. These belong to different areas or have very varied utilities. They are transforming the machinery, the processes, the way of conceiving health or the patient experience. However, we have ventured to make a top 10 of those advances that, in our opinion, are already defining the course of the health sector and its digital transformation.
The impact of these advances on our state of health
Historically there have been many inventions and improvements that have improved our standard of living and the way we treat our health. We currently have some that are completely changing the landscape of the health sector. Liquid biopsy, for example, is a minimally invasive test that makes it possible to identify tumor cells in the bloodstream. Also, robotic surgery, whose greatest advance is the Da Vinci surgical robot, which represents a further step towards the intelligent operating room. Or the development of gene therapies that modify the genetic cause of the disease in the patient, which becomes more relevant as its cost decreases and the possibility of being applied increases. But, then, what technological advances in health have reached the top 10?
1. Virtual reality.
This tool helps professionals prepare for stressful surgeries or procedures and know how to react to different situations before they happen. The different applications that use virtual reality and gamification are turning out to be very useful to educate professionals in this field. For example, it allows performing an operation or procedure in advance and rehearsing as much as necessary, improving the results when facing the situation in a real way.
In the field of rehabilitation, this technology known as neuroprosthesis stands out. Thanks to it, patients will be able to recover senses that had been damaged or even lost. These are aimed at rehabilitating touch, sight or hearing.
Exoskeletons are closely related to earlier technology, but differ in that they focus almost solely on the issue of mobility. Among its main applications we find helping to recover mobility in patients who had partially or totally lost it.
4. 3D printing.
The development of this technique has provided the possibility of creating solutions that identify diseases thanks to the measurement of biometric parameters, such as this patch that diagnoses possible diseases through sweat. But, also, it has made possible the creation of artificial organs to help patients with non-functional organs. Such is the case with this artificial valve that will make it possible for newborns, babies and young children to have a healthy heart by replacing the defective valve.
5. Voice recognition technology.
Researchers and medical professionals have realized in recent years how useful solutions using speech recognition technology can be. Both in diagnosis and in carrying out daily administrative tasks. In addition, scientists have discovered that some characteristics of patients’ voices or vocal biomarkers can reveal a lot about their health status, helping to detect possible health risks.
6. Social networks and apps.
Its use to empower patients and disseminate reliable medical information is on the rise. There are numerous groups that claim this tool. Among them we find #NursingNow, for example, a growing movement that claims the role of nurses in the hospital. But also many others aimed at supporting patients with rare or chronic diseases, to name a few. As well as the well-known #SaludSinBulos, focused on denouncing false information or hoaxes about health.
In the current context, we are facing a boom in nanomedicine. Nanoparticles and nano devices may soon operate as highly precise medication systems. In other words, the nano devices will allow dosing the treatment to patients, in a completely new way. There are, for example, very small insulin pumps that send diabetic patients the exact amount of insulin they need at the time they need it, without them even having to think about it.
8. 5G applied to surgery.
5G has already been applied to operating rooms in real life, with successful results. This has made it possible to connect doctors from remote parts of the planet to perform one procedure at a time. Allowing to carry out the first surgical operation with live, interactive and retransmitted digestive endoscopy interventions by 5G.
9. Blockchain and AI in the treatment of health data.
Other advances such as the block chain or artificial intelligence applied to health offer the possibility of managing huge amounts of data in the most efficient way that has been possible up to now. These will make it possible to analyze a large flow of medical information that is recorded with each patient and use it to potentially identify possible disorders and diseases before they occur. All this supported by the technology of wearables and health apps.
10. Machine learning.
Machine learning in the healthcare sector can streamline diagnostic and administrative processes by training devices to identify diseases based only on existing patient health information and data. This can save a lot of time for professionals in this sector, as well as improve prevention. This functionality is already being applied in the analysis of ultrasound scans and other medical tests.
Digital health platforms, a growing trend
From Docline we are aware of all this great process of digitalization of the sector and what it entails. We are updating the way we communicate with patients or access healthcare itself. These advances are here to make our day-to-day life easier and better.
Thus, digital health platforms such as Docline and its video consultation system are advances that are on the rise within the health sector. Through our digital health platform we offer health professionals, medical organizations and patients the possibility of benefiting from the advantages of this health digitization. We care about improving the lives of patients and how they take care of their health. As well as for facilitating health professionals and medical centers the possibility of offering quality care to their patients.