Of all the industries benefiting from the ever-improving landscape of technology, healthcare is among those benefiting the most. Technological advances allow healthcare providers to care for their patients with greater efficiency than ever before, which is why they strive to be on the cutting edge of new medical technology. With each new year comes new innovations in the medical field. Here are some of the greatest advances in healthcare technology for 2015.
- Introduction of Hybrid Operating Rooms
This year has seen an influx of hybrid operating rooms. These rooms combine the elements of a traditional O.R. with the newest medical tech equipment available. As a result, medical practitioners can combine their skills with these technologies to provide patients with the highest quality care possible.
Common post-op issues such as scarring and mild trauma have shown to be reduced when patients are treated in hybrid operating rooms. Additionally, rehabilitation times after surgery have been reduced. This is advantageous to both physicians and patients as it decreases the amount of time a patient must spend in the hospital.
- The Ability to 3D-Print Biological Materials
One new technology with excitingly great potential is 3D printing. As the capabilities of 3D printers continued to be tested in various ways, many medical uses are being discovered. Embryonic stem cells have already been successfully printed in labs, which can be used to generate tissue and assist in the growth of organs. A company called Organovo has even seen success in 3D-printing sheets of cardiac tissue and blood vessels that can function like an actual heart. Skin cells are also being printed in some instances to help victims of severe burns.
- Use of Microchips in Clinical Trials
The use of animals in clinical trials is a controversial matter. Not only do animal rights activists protest the method, but its accuracy is also questioned because of biological differences from humans. With the use of tiny microchips, scientists and doctors are now able to build a model of the complex organ and capillary interface. This saves animals from being tested and has yielded successful results such as the reconstruction of human lungs.
- Improved Communication Through Cloud-based Software
Efficiency is crucial in the medical field, yet communication methods have slowed processes severely in the past. Obsolete technologies such as fax machines are still used by many practices creating communication lags between doctors, their colleagues, and patients. With the use of cloud-based communications software, all forms of communication are unified for efficiency. This allows something such as a referral to be a quick, seamless process that can aid a patient sooner.
- Digestible Sensors
The medical field continues to advance the methods for examining internal organs. Digestible sensors are a recent technology that patients can consume to provide information on how different treatments affect each organ system. This information helps medical professionals customize their methods of care to best suit the patient.