Healthcare is a constantly changing environment. As new technologies and capabilities boost abilities for doctors and researchers, patients benefit with new treatments, monitors, and medicines.
Here are our TOP 5 picks of Medical Innovations for 2018
Blockchain technology is a game-changer with the potential to impact not one or two industries, but the complete landscape of how business is done. Following an IBM Study, When 200 healthcare executives were surveyed, 16 percent expect to have a commercial blockchain solution at scale sometime this year.
The key players for blockchain adoption will be regulators, industry groups and market makers. Managing and securing data within healthcare and supply chain management are two great examples of principal concepts influencing and being impacted by possible blockchain adoption.
Within Healthcare use of Blockchain could include:
- Better data sharing between healthcare providers means a higher probability of accurate diagnoses, more effective treatments, and the overall increased ability of healthcare organizations to deliver cost-effective care.
- Blockchain technology can allow various stakeholders in the healthcare value-chain to share access to their networks without compromising data security and integrity, by allowing them to track data provenance as well as any changes made.
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Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in healthcare is on the rise and solving a variety of problems for patients, hospitals and the healthcare industry overall. Artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare uses algorithms and software to approximate human cognition in the analysis of complex medical data.
The primary aim of health-related AI applications is to analyze relationships between prevention or treatment techniques and patient outcomes. AI programs have been developed and applied to practices such as diagnosis processes, treatment protocol development, drug development, personalized medicine and patient monitoring and care, among others.
Medical institutions such as The Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and National Health Service, multinational technology companies such as IBM and Google and startups such as Welltok and Ayasdi, have created solutions currently used in the industry.
Below you will find some upcoming projects from top-tier organisations:
- IBM’s Watson Oncology is in development at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic. IBM is also working with CVS Health on AI applications in chronic disease treatment and with Johnson & Johnson on analysis of scientific papers to find new connections for drug development.
- Microsoft‘s Hanover project, in partnership with Oregon Health & Science University’s Knight Cancer Institute, analyzes medical research to predict the most effective cancer drug treatment options for patients.Other projects include medical image analysis of tumor progression and the development of programmable cells.
- Google’s DeepMind platform is being used by the UK National Health Service to detect certain health risks through data collected via a mobile app. A second project with the NHS involves analysis of medical images collected from NHS patients to develop computer vision algorithms to detect cancerous tissues.
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VR (Virtual Reality) for Healthcare
Healthcare is one of the biggest adopters of virtual reality which encompasses surgery simulation, phobia treatment, robotic surgery and skills training.
One of the advantages of this technology is that it allows healthcare professionals to learn new skills as well as refreshing existing ones in a safe environment. Plus it allows this without causing any danger to the patients.
Below you will find some great examples of how VR will transform the Healthcare Industry:
- Human simulation software: One example of this is the HumanSim system which enables doctors, nurses and other medical personnel to interact with others in an interactive environment. They engage in training scenarios in which they have to interact with a patient but within a 3D environment only. This is an immersive experience which measures the participant’s emotions via a series of sensors.
- Virtual reality diagnostics: Virtual reality is often used as a diagnostic tool in that it enables doctors to arrive at a diagnosis in conjunction with other methods such as MRI scans. This removes the need for invasive procedures or surgery.
- Virtual robotic surgery: A popular use of this technology is in robotic surgery. This is where surgery is performed by means of a robotic device – controlled by a human surgeon, which reduces time and risk of complications. Virtual reality has been also been used for training purposes and, in the field of remote telesurgery in which surgery is performed by the surgeon at a separate location to the patient. The main feature of this system is force feedback as the surgeon needs to be able to gauge the amount of pressure to use when performing a delicate procedure.
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Teletherapy has been defined as “the application of telecommunications technology the delivery of professional services at a distance by linking clinician to client, or clinician to clinician, for assessment, intervention, and/or consultation.”
In a nutshell, it’s online therapy. Traveling to an office for therapy is often not convenient and, for some people, it is not possible. But modern technology can connect clinicians with clients no matter where they live.
Teletherapy can solve logistical issues and remove barriers for many different groups that can have limited access to care including:
- Children and Adolescents: Cost can often play a role in preventing young people from receiving the care they need. Teletherapy can help make mental health care more accessible to children and adolescents, and may be more ideal for teens comfortable with technology that may desire a higher degree of anonymity in care. Additionally, teletherapy can eliminate the need to miss school to attend in-person appointments, providing less disruption to a client’s daily routine.
- Older Adults: Older adults experience some type of mental health concern. These conditions often co-occur with other physical health issues and can go undiagnosed. Older adults can struggle with the cost of mental health care, and may have difficulty travelling to appointments due to physical health concerns or lack of transportation. Teletherapy can address these struggles by allowing people to see their therapist remotely. Furthermore, Medicare’s telehealth benefit includes psychotherapy codes, making teletherapy more affordable for older adults.
- Minority Groups: Minority populations have the same level of risk for mental health disorders, but access treatment at much lower rates. Mental health care is often less accessible to minority groups, and people seeking care often anticipate lower quality or experience language or cultural barriers when receiving treatment. By reducing geographic barriers, teletherapy can increase options for people when choosing a provider and help them find someone who is a good fit.
- Rural Residents: Rural Australians live in a mental health provider shortage area. Combined with lower incomes, high levels of stigma, and a potential lack of anonymity in a smaller community, seeking care can be difficult. Teletherapy allows rural residents to access mental health services more privately with less travel.
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Precision medicine (PM) is a medical model that proposes the customization of healthcare, with medical decisions, treatments, practices, or products being tailored to the individual patient. In this model, diagnostic testing is often employed for selecting appropriate and optimal therapies based on the context of a patient’s genetic content or other molecular or cellular analysis. Tools employed in precision medicine can include molecular diagnostics, imaging, and analytics.
The ability to provide precision medicine to patients in routine clinical settings depends on the availability of molecular profiling tests, e.g. individual germline DNA sequencing.
While precision medicine currently individualizes treatment mainly on the basis of genomic tests (e.g. Oncotype DX), several promising technology modalities are being developed, from techniques combining spectrometry and computational power to real-time imaging of drug effects in the body. Many different aspects of precision medicine are tested in research settings (e.g., proteome, microbiome), but in routine practice not all available inputs are used. The ability to practice precision medicine is also dependent on the knowledge bases available to assist clinicians in taking action based on test results.
On the treatment side, PM can involve the use of customized medical products such drug cocktails produced by pharmacy compounding or customized devices. It can also prevent harmful drug interactions, increase overall efficiency when prescribing medications, and reduce costs associated with healthcare.
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