The future of healthcare is evolving right before our very eyes as advancements continue to be made in the digital landscape, which will have a huge impact on how treatments are carried out in the future. We as a community are going to need to familiarize ourselves with these adaptations as soon, they will be having a huge impact on how our illness and injuries are treated in the future. There is no doubt that the future of healthcare lies in working together with the developments of technology, and healthcare workers and patients are going to need to embrace these adaptations with open arms moving forward.
The other reason why we need to be aware of these adaptations is that there generally seems to be a misconception of what it means when technology starts to have an impact on industries. People hear the term AI floated about and then immediately assume in the next few decades robot doctors and nurses will be running hospitals. This is not the case. No matter how alien these changes may seem to us, they are coming, and they are for the better. So, how is technology going to shape the future of healthcare?
Flexibility to Patients
The rest of this list will discuss the potential future of healthcare; however, this section highlights the benefits that technology can have on healthcare already. Patients now have a lot of flexibility due to the fact that technology is being re-engineered to make life much more convenient for both booking and keeping appointments.
This can be seen in the way that organizations such as ChartSpan offer AWV Medicare assessments. Thanks to their advancements in the tech they use, these organizations can offer patients a much more convenient and slick booking and attending process. This means that there are much more flexible operating systems in place that are also senior-friendly and come with translation options.
Artificial intelligence has already been integrated into many aspects of our lives, including gaming, our computers, and our phones. However, there are some who believe that as well as this, AI has the potential to redesign what we know about healthcare completely. The algorithms that are used in AI would be able to go through different medical records and redesign treatment plans, whilst also creating drugs a lot faster than they are made currently.
There are lots of ways we have already seen the benefits of AI in technology. One of these is when Atomwise used supercomputers to root out therapies from a database, to search for safe, existing medicines that could be used to treat the Ebola virus. This ensured current medicines could be used, which significantly reduced the infection rates of the Ebola virus.
This is one way AI has been used but moving forward, it will likely be incorporated into the design of new drugs and the disruption of medical images to mine medical records.
VR is completely changing the lives of patients and physicians alike. Imagine if you could watch operations first-hand as if you were wielding the scalpel yourself. Or, patients will be glad to hear, imagine if you were told you couldn’t leave your hospital bed for a few weeks but rather than staring at the same four walls for that time, could explore scenic views and be totally transported somewhere new? Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, VR is soon to make that a reality.
VR is being used for students as they are learning how to practice operations in very real scenarios. They are working as well, as a recent Harvard Business Review study found that VR-trained surgeons had a 230% boost in overall performance when compared to their traditionally-trained counterparts.
One of the most exciting and fastest-growing fields in healthcare is robotics, as it is being used for a variety of reasons. These reasons include having robotic companions through to surgical assistants, pharmabotics, disinfectant robots, and even exoskeletons.
2019 was a particularly good year for exoskeletons as it saw Europe’s first ever exoskeleton-aided surgery, as well as a tetraplegic man who was able to control an exoskeleton using just his brain. The benefits of this are obvious for patients who have lost the ability of their legs or arms.
Robot companions also have a place, as they will be able to alleviate loneliness in patients who have to be bed-ridden for an elongated period of time. They can also be used as a means to treat mental health issues or even children who have developed a chronic illness.
3D printing will also likely have a huge impact on the future of healthcare as people will begin printing bio tissues, artificial limbs, pills, blood vessels, and a whole manner of different things that could help patients in need. It was in November 2019 when a method was developed to print living skin along with some blood vessels, which could then go on to be used as skin grafts for burns victims.
There are also leaps being made in the pharmaceutical industry, which is allowing people to benefit from the technology that 3D printing has to offer. They have recently been used in the development of “polypills”, which contain several layers of drugs that are able to help patients adhere to therapeutic plans.
Yes, there is no getting away from the fact that technology is only continuing to develop and get better, which is slowly starting to present itself more and more in our day-to-day lives. This could be in the way we run our homes, the way we do work, and soon, the way that we receive different medical treatments.
There are a lot of developments that sound incredibly sci-fi inspired; however, everything mentioned above is entirely feasible and comes with a huge range of benefits. By implementing the likes of AI, VR, 3D printing, and robotics into medicine, the treatments available to people will exceed anything like what we can comprehend now.