Blog Feature

By: Jennifer Devitt on March 31st, 2015

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7 modern day advancements in healthcare made possible by technology.

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Last week we introduced a new segment on the blog, discussing how technology has changed specific industries. You don't have to look far to see change brought on by technology. It could be in the use of smartphones, computers, digital media and more. Some may feel that all change is good and embrace it 100 percent. While others will buck it at every turn.

Today, we will discuss how technology is affecting the healthcare industry. Healthcare is an industry where technological advances are booming. New strides and advancements are made daily. Researchers and doctors use technology to better diagnose illness and treat patients. Let's take a look at the ways technology is changing healthcare.

1. Heath and fitness apps. Health and fitness apps are everywhere. And, the new Apple Watch is predicted to bring even more apps. Medical manufacturer Dexcom already has an FDA-approved app in the works for the Apple Watch to monitor diabetic patients glucose levels. There are a plethora of fitness watches and devices that assist individuals in monitoring heart rate, miles, and calories burned during a workout.

2. 3D Printed Biological materials. Just as 3D printing has infiltrated the fashion world, has we discussed last week, doctors are using it in medical advancements.  Doctors are generating 3D printed stents, skin cells, bones and prosthetic limbs. Just today I read this article about a 7-year-old girl receiving a pink and blue 3D printed "Robo-hand" or prosthetic. The company that created the device, Build It Workspace, which allowed the child to assist in the creation of the prosthetic for $50.

3. Hybrid operating rooms.  Some of today's operating rooms are outfitted with CT Scanners, MRI machines as well as other devices to make surgery less invasive and traumatic for patients. Maquet has made extensive advancements in hybrid operating rooms.

4. Digestible sensors. These may sound like something out of a futuristic film or kids cartoon. But, Proteaus Digital Health has developed a system that uses a smartphone, patch and a pill. This system allows family members, caregivers and physicians to assist in monitoring patients.  It can provide information about prescription dosages, movement, and activity. And Given Imaging has developed a "PillCam" that makes colonoscopies easier.

5. Research.  Apple is hoping to aid in medical advancements and research by way of Research Kit.  Researchers, physicians, and patients can carry out clinical research outside of the lab.  Mount Sinai is already using Research Kit by way of their app Asthma Health. The app can allow users to track symptoms, share local air quality alerts, manage medications and more.

6. Education. MT Tool & Manufacturing (client) creator of the MT S - Scope utilizes Bluetooth technology to aid in education and diagnose of lung and heart disease. The MT S -Scope is a Bluetooth stethoscope that utilizes iOS software to simulate breath sounds.

7. Patient management. The Scan Am  Company (client) is the creator of MTR Electronic Whiteboards.  These whiteboards aid in nurse and doctor rounding, room assignments, patient status, health precautions and more.

So, there are 7 new high-tech ways that technology is advancing healthcare. Now some of these might sound like the are straight out of the kid's cartoon Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius, after all, Jimmy did send himself inside his friend Carl to fight his germs!  But the above-mentioned technology is working in hospitals and clinics around the world. Every day scientists, researchers, and medical professionals are working hand in hand with programmers and developers to try to find new ways to cure human ailments, save lives and prevent disease. Who knows, one day one of us may be part of the next medical advancement that helps save our own life or the life of a loved one.