I am sure we will all nod our heads in agreement when we hear the wise old saying that ‘Health is Wealth’. Health is the greatest blessing a person can have, for even if you have a billion dollars to spend at your whim or looks that could kill, if your health is poor and you are in pain, these would have very low personal satisfaction levels for you and hence would be rendered useless.
Luckily for us, as mankind has evolved, so has the quality of healthcare on offer. The biggest leap in healthcare has been through adapting technology into it. From then on, due to the rapid pace that technology has been evolving over the past few years, we have seen the healthcare sector positively benefit as a result.
Let us have a look and analyze how incorporating technology in healthcare has solved many major problems:
1. Ease of Record Keeping and Data Transfer
Long gone are the days when the staff at medical centers had to deal with long files of health records for each patient and then also keep track of them for all and locate them when needed.
Thanks to the advent of technology, now all patient data is stored efficiently in designated files on the computer or on the internet cloud and can very conveniently be accessed whenever needed by the doctor.
This saves the healthcare staff a lot of time and space, and hence maintenance costs too. This data can also be transferred between different healthcare professionals at the click of a button, and in emergency situations, knowing the history of a patient can potentially be lifesaving.
Healthcare centers can further increase their productivity, time management and services by incorporating specialized medical software for their practice such as the Medisoft V21and Practice Choice EHR ( EHR: Electronic Healthcare Records) such as this one offered by Computer Mate Inc.
2. Reduction of Pain and Suffering
Technology has considerably decreased the pain faced by patients during treatment. Due to research and advances in technology, treatments have become less invasive and hence the recovery time for each patient is considerably decreased.
Technology has been responsible for providing new machines and treatments from research that has positively impacted millions. Now, for the benefit of those who suffer from chronic pain, there has been the introduction of wearable technology which can be used to decrease pain.
An example is Thimble, which is a pain relief patch developed by Thimble Bioelectronics which can be applied to the area where there is pain, and it uses low voltage electrical stimulation to make you feel more comfortable.
Another company that is working in the same area is Quell. Philips has also come up with a pain relief patch that used LED light to encourage production of nitric oxide, which improves blood circulation and helps with pain relief and its patch is called ‘The Blue Touch Pain Relief Patch.’
In the past few years, there has been a lot of focus on wearable technology which helps alleviate pain so we can definitely hope for massive improvements in this area, which would benefit patients suffering from pain.
3. Biological 3D Printers
Introduction of 3D printers in the medical field has been a major achievement by technology. The potential from 3D biological printers is immense, and researchers are looking to tap into it for maximum benefits.
There have already been amazing strides when it comes to 3D printers helping the healthcare field. Surgeons can use 3D printers to print exact replicas of a patient’s organ when faced with a difficult surgery, and discuss in advance how to heal the problem.
This is how many medical practices such as Kaiser Permanente’s Los Angeles Medical Center uses 3D printers to improve healthcare. However now we also have access to biological 3D printers with which we can print skin and even embryonic stem cells which can be used to make new organs in the future, solving the problem of finding donor organs for patients.
In fact, scientists in the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK, already successfully printed 3D stem cells as early as 2013. The company Organovo has also successfully printed cardiac tissue that beats like a real heart, eliminating the need for millions of people to wait for ages to find a matching donor for an organ so they can have a chance to a healthier and better life.
Printing stem cells also helps in doing research which in turn provides insight and cures for many diseases and ailments faced by patients.
4. Giving the Disabled a chance for normality through the use of Robotic Prosthetics
War has been an unfortunate part of human history and despite our evolution, we have been unable to remove this evil. Countless lives are lost in needless wars happening around the globe, and many people, especially those serving in the military, end up being disabled and losing their limbs due to war atrocities.
Luckily for these war veterans and other war survivors, there is now hope for a return to normalcy in their lives. This is due to the introduction of robotic prosthetic limbs, which basically are robotic limbs that the patient can control neutrally with his brain, just like your normal physical limbs.
An example of a company that is specializing in such important technology is DARPA which introduced the Reliable Neural-Interface Technology (RE-NET) program in 2010 whose main focus is to come up with technology that extracts neural signals at a high rate which can then control the prosthetic limbs of a patient as naturally as possible.
5. Early detection of disease
Due to advances in technology, detection of disease can be done much earlier, and even as a preventive measure for patients. This is due to the efficient blood testing equipment, advancements in scanning technologies such as ultrasounds, MRI machines, CTI scan machines etc. Early detection of disease has considerably improve patient health and in many cases has even proved to be lifesaving.
There is no doubt that technology has revolutionized healthcare and solved some of our biggest healthcare problems, and will continue to do so in the future.