Current technology trends are already changing the way healthcare is managed and delivered. From wearables to cloud storage, healthcare institutions are adopting more and more technological trends that improve their efficiency and care delivery while empowering patients. These current and near future technologies are being rolled out daily. But there are many more branches of technology that will be able to influence and transform healthcare that are still in the early days of development. Some of them have not been approved by governing bodies in the health sector, as approval can take years. But research continues in the meantime and the potential they have to impact the health sector is huge. From patients to professionals, everyone involved in healthcare will be affected by these emerging technologies in the next few decades.
Technology is making healthcare more accessible every day. A very real problem is people not being able to actually make appointments due to being incapacitated, so researchers are working hard on solutions that will enable these people to undergo tests in the comfort of their own home. Software is being developed to detect and diagnose a range of illnesses including Alzheimer’s and various cancers. These programmes can do a range of things like analyse parts of the brain based on eye movements or calculate likely illnesses based on inputted symptoms. The reliability of these developing technologies will only increase with funding and time, perhaps to eventually become permanent additions to patients’ homes.
Right now 3D printing is becoming common in a lot of areas in medicine; it can manufacture equipment and even some drugs. Logically, the next step is human matter. Experiments with tissue, bone, cartilage and a range of other biological components have been underway since the turn of the 21st century. “Bio printing”, as it’s often referred to, has developed to the point where whole organs are being printed. Where it was once entirely experimental and costly, it is now being used all over the world and it’s becoming increasingly affordable. The implications of this are both vast and beneficial as it could eliminate the organ shortage that affects so many patients.
Prosthetic limbs are becoming more intricate and powerful every day. Key elements such as motor control and precision – once impossible for robotic limbs to achieve – are almost lifelike now. This is most obvious in prosthetic hands, but other areas of mechanical medicine, such as exoskeleton suits for partially paralysed patients are also maturing. One day, prosthetic limbs will be able to fully connect and communicate with the human brain. For now, innovators are perfecting their human mimicry.
These three areas of medical tech are rich in possibilities and research, with new developments propelling them forward each day. Ideas that once existed only in science fiction are now at the forefront of technological innovation. These ideas, now physical conceptions, have the power to transform the way healthcare is delivered when they become more widely used and affordable. Patients will be able to receive a better and more consistent standard of care in the future when these technologies become commonplace in our society.