The future of healthcare is shaping up before our very eyes with improvements in digital healthcare technology, such as artificial intelligence, VR/AR, 3D-printing, robotics, or nanotechnology. We must familiarize ourselves with the latest developments so as to have the ability to control technology and not the other way around. The future of healthcare lies in working hand-in-hand with technology and healthcare workers must adopt emerging healthcare technologies to be able to remain relevant in the next few years.
I think that artificial intelligence has the capacity to redesign healthcare entirely. AI algorithms have the ability to mine medical documents, design treatment programs or make medications way faster than any present actor on the healthcare palette including any medical practitioner.
Atomwise uses supercomputers that root out treatments from a database of molecular structures. In 2015, the startup launched a digital search for safe, present medications that could be redesigned to see to the Ebola virus. They discovered two medications predicted by the business’s AI technology which might significantly reduce Ebola infectivity.
The algorithm outperformed all human radiologists on pre-selected data sets to discover breast cancer, on average by 11.5%! These are only a couple of the numerous examples of organizations using A.I. to advance healthcare from designing new drugs to interrupting medical imaging into mining medical records. We have collected our favorite examples in a recent post. With all these concrete examples, imagine what horizons could open for humankind if the early use of AI results in these awesome discoveries!
Virtual reality (VR) is changing the lives of physicians and patients alike. Later on, you might see surgeries as though you wielded the scalpel or you may travel to Iceland or house while you’re lying on a hospital mattress.
VR has been used to train future surgeons and for real surgeons to practice operations. Such applications programs are developed and supplied by firms like Osso VR and ImmersiveTouch and are in active use with promising results. A recent Harvard Business Review study revealed that VR-trained surgeons had a 230% increase in their overall performance in comparison to their traditionally-trained counterparts. The former was also quicker and more accurate in performing surgical procedures.
The technology is also benefiting patients and has been demonstrated to work in pain management. Women are being outfitted with VR headsets to picture soothing landscapes in order to help them undergo labor pain. Patients experiencing gastrointestinal, cardiac, neurological, and post-surgical pain have shown a decrease in their pain levels when using VR to divert them from painful stimuli. A 2019 pilot study even demonstrated that patients undergoing operation diminished their pain and anxiety and improved their overall hospital experience.
Augmented reality differs from VR in two respects: consumers don’t lose touch with reality and it places information into vision as quickly as possible. These distinctive features enable AR to become a driving force in the future of medicine; both on the healthcare providers and the recipients’ side.
In the event of health care professionals, it may help medical students prepare for real-life surgeries, as well as enables surgeons to improve their capabilities. This is already true in Case Western Reserve University where pupils are using the Microsoft HoloLens to study anatomy through the HoloAnatomy program. Using this process, medical students have access to accurate and detailed, albeit virtual, depictions of the body to study the topic without the necessity of real bodies.
Another promising firm, Magic Leap, will also bring its slightly different, mixed reality headset to healthcare. Magic Leap has partnered with SyncThink for brain health, with XRHealth for developing a therapeutic platform and with German healthcare technology firm Brainlab to deliver its spatial computing technology to healthcare. But, no commercial products are yet available from such partnerships but we are bound to see them populate the healthcare market in the not too distant future.
Healthcare trackers, wearables and sensors
As the future of medicine and healthcare is closely linked to the empowerment of patients in addition to people taking care of their own health through technology, I can’t leave out health trackers, wearables, and detectors from my selection. They are terrific devices to know more about ourselves and retake control over our own lives.
I personally use the Fitbit Ionic to track my sleep and monitor my workout. I supplement it with the Polar H10 to fine-tune my workout routines with my coach in order to locate the best exercises for my skills. For meditation, the Muse headband helped me a lot to locate the key things that I personally need for a successful meditation session. Now I don’t need to use the apparatus to attempt and reach mindfulness!
Regardless of whether you want to control your weight, your stress level, your cognitive capacities better or you want to achieve a general fit and energetic state, there’s a device for all of these needs and more! The beauty of the new tech-fueled devices is they really make patients the point-of-care. With the ability to monitor one’s health at home and discuss the results remotely with their doctor, these devices empower individuals to take charge of their health and make more informed decisions.