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Posted July 15, 2019 by Tanya Arthur, Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer
The healthcare industry has had an explosion of innovation over the past few decades. These innovations continue to improve quality of life for millions of people. Let’s take a look at some of the latest and greatest in technological innovation and what impact and importance they have on the field of healthcare.
Electronic Health Records at Your Doctor’s Fingertips
Before medical records became electronic, your medical information from visits to various doctors, dentists and medical specialists were all held in separate locations within each individual office. Electronic health records replacing paper records has been a game changer. Now your full medical history lives in a central location online. This allows for more accurate care, the ability to spot health trends and tracking of potential issues such as allergies or intolerances.
Virtual and Augmented Reality is Changing Our Reality
Virtual and augmented realities are changing the way we train physicians, both in skill and in patient care. VR projects like “We Are Alfred” are giving caretakers the opportunity to experience what it’s like to walk a day in the shoes of a patient. Doctors will soon be able to train as if they are actually treating a patient, and they can use software to create 3-D models of internal organs to help get a better picture of how to treat them.
Healthcare is Dabbling in Fashion with Wearables
As technology gets smaller and more portable, more and more gadgets are coming out in the market that allows you to track their own health and fitness. If you’ve ever used a step counter or a smartwatch like a Fitbit or Apple Watch, you’re hip to this trend. Companies are taking it steps further by creating biometric clothing like Supa to fully keep track of fitness and movement. In addition to physical health, Muse created a headband to help with meditation and mental health. There are even products like Neopenda and Owlet that help new parents track their baby's breathing and vitals.
As 3D printers become more affordable, these printers are being used more often in healthcare. Not Impossible Labs created low-cost prosthetics to help people with amputated or missing limbs. 3D printers are being used to print blood vessels and heart valves, and they can even print skin. What's on the horizon for 3D medical printing? Medicine – scientists are working on creating a printer that will allow people to print their own prescriptions at home.
If you grew up watching shows and movies like Terminator and The Six Million Dollar Man, robotics may feel like science fiction. It's actually one of the most exciting growing fields of healthcare. With the help of robotic devices, people who have spinal cord injuries now have a shot at walking again.
At Summa Health Stroke Care Center we know how crucial it is to treat stroke patients as soon as possible, which is why we have "stroke robots" to help. Our InTouch Health™ robots allow our neurologists to perform consultations remotely and provide immediate care to stop stroke damage as soon as possible.
Along the same lines of robotics, but much smaller, nanotech allows small devices to swim through a body to deliver drugs, distribute cancer treatments or perform minor surgeries. One example is Summa Health's capsule endoscopy, which is used to check out a patient's digestive tract.
Telemedicine and Mobile Apps
More than 5 billion people in the world own mobile devices. Medicine is trying to keep up by creating ways to communicate remotely with people who are too far or too sick to visit an office.
Through email, apps and webcams, medical professionals can now diagnose, track, counsel, track, educate and support patients without having to see them in person. At Summa Health, we have the option for virtual visits that make going to the doctor as easy as possible – it’s so important that everyone has access to healthcare whenever and wherever they need it.
The future of healthcare is shaping right in front of our eyes – it’ll be even more important in the coming years to keep an eye on the latest tech that comes on the market to help patients and healthcare professionals alike.
At Summa Health, innovation is important to us and we're excited to see what comes next as technology continues to revolutionize healthcare and improve the quality of our lives. Call 800.237.8662 to make an appointment.