2019 has been quite an eventful year since it brought with itself medical innovations that have radically transformed healing and healthcare. These advances have indeed shown the potential to save and improve millions of lives.
Let’s have a look at 6 medical technologies that have created ripples in the healthcare world.
In simple terms, CRISPR is a cool tool that allows scientists to alter DNA and genes. How is it helpful? This technique can potentially transform the way we treat diseases and grow crops. Scientists believe that it may help in destroying pathogens and even curing HIV and cancer. A patient suffering from sickle cell anaemia has been successfully treated using this technology. CRISPR’s progress so far has been exciting.
This invention is straight out of sci-fi movies and books. 3D printing can help create specific health products for patients such as implants, stents, and even prosthetics. These customised creations are modelled using the patient’s body measurements and enhance performance and comfort. Another advantage of 3D printing is that the risk of complications after the operation is minimal. Scientists believe that this technology will improve heart surgeries and transform face transplants.
In a world where a large chunk of the population resorts to digitally-led services, telemedicine has proven to be quite resourceful. Telemedicine allows patients to consult with doctors via their digital devices. Nowadays, there are mobile apps that allow people to speak to a doctor via chat, phone call or a video call, and receive instant diagnosis and advice. This technology has created convenience for patients as it eliminates the need for travelling and waiting time at the clinic. Telemedicine has also proven to be a boon for people living in remote or rural locations. It is truly one of the best medical technologies to come out in recent years.
This advancement has certainly brought relief to surgeons. How? With robotic surgery, surgeons can now perform difficult or complex operations easily. This involves minimally invasive procedures that help surgeons in control, precision, and flexibility. Robotic procedures have proven to be faster, painless, and have reduced recovery time. Some believe that robotic surgery may replace surgeons in the future but right now they are immensely helpful in enhancing medical procedures.
Immunotherapy for cancer
In short, immunotherapy is a technique wherein the body’s immunity system is used to fight cancer. Your immune system will detect the abnormal cells (tumours) and destroy them. Right now, scientists are looking at immunotherapies, such as monoclonal antibodies, immune checkpoint inhibitors, T cell transfer therapy, and immune system modulators for the treatment of cancer. Some therapies have shown potential in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer and melanoma. Scientists believe that in the near future, immunotherapy will help treat all kinds of tumour.
When we hear virtual reality, the first thing that comes to our mind is gaming. But in the medical realm, VR is more than a plaything. Healthcare professionals are now using this technology to improve their skills. In medical education, virtual reality/mixed reality programs are improving traditional schooling by providing simulation training. This immersive type of learning is certainly appealing to the learners and may prove to be a positive step towards producing confident healthcare professionals.
AI in healthcare
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the tremendous potential to solve healthcare problems. Presently, this human-like technology is being used by medical experts to make better decisions in terms of patient consultations by providing accuracy of viewing patient’s scans, which in turn is reducing the physician’s burnout. Experts visualise a future with AI where access to care is significantly improved, health inequalities are reduced, and quality of life is improved.
Which of these medical technologies according to you looks more impactful? Let us know.