August 13, 2019
The advantages that technology offers modern medicine are beyond belief. This includes online references for patients, (Wikipedia/WebMD) online appointment booking, paperless healthcare facilities, and smartphones that strive to make healthcare both convenient, and accessible.
The use of AI coupled with robotics has been instrumental in the development of prosthetics that communicate with the brain to replicate the human body’s natural movements. Genetic testing enables people to make more informed decisions with respect to family planning and preventative measures related to their own health.
Convenience: Accessibility & Affordability
Since the dawn of the smartphone and App stores, providing healthcare at the touch of a screen has been first and foremost in creating an accessible healthcare experience. As of 2018, there were over 318,000 health apps available on the top app stores worldwide. That number has increased. Some of these include: connecting patients with specialists at rapid speed, having prescriptions refilled online and delivered right to your door and checking wait times before venturing into the cold winter weather with a feverish toddler. Convenience is at the core of the future of healthcare. There are several apps that facilitate real-time crisis counselling , helping those that are unable to wait for the next available appointment. For many with anxiety disorders including PTSD, leaving the house can be a feat in and of itself and these services give them the comfort and security of remaining in their own home. Physical therapy requires multiple and usually expensive treatment methods and travelling can be a painful experience. Now, with a quick online search, you can find at home Physio services or just use YouTube videos designed by licensed specialists that offer a plethora of exercises for almost all kinds of aches, pains, and injuries. These are accessible any time, any place and at no cost. Of course, consulting with your doctor is always vital prior to starting any type of healthcare routine, (but that can also be done conveniently via email).
Create: Invention & Reinvention
Injuries or illnesses resulting in loss of a body part are unimaginable, and the road to recovery is even more difficult for those affected and their families. Thankfully with the progression of AI, mind-controlled prosthetics with sensory feedback are becoming reality.
Surgery is more advanced than ever before and now offers in-utero surgery for fetuses. In 2017, Canadian doctors performed their first-ever in-utero surgery for spina bifida at 25 weeks pregnancy resulting in the birth of a healthy baby girl who hasn’t needed any further medical intervention. This surgery spared the family the emotional and financial stresses of having travel to the US for expensive specialized surgeries.
3-D printing of organs allows surgeons to create a clear plan to take before they undergo complicated and intricate surgeries. More importantly, it gives these surgeons the opportunity to practice the surgery, anticipating any challenges. This results in a much higher success rate while minimizing associated risks and recovery time. Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto has been using 3D printed hearts to prepare for pediatric surgery.
Control: Be Informed
One of the greatest aspects of modern medicine is the amount of control it gives us over our own health. We have the ability to know our blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, body mass index, blood sugar levels, and sleep rhythms without even going to the doctor by using health wearables. A watch not only tells the time; it gives us a picture of how our health is functioning and how well we are performing physically. Wearables have even provided access to life-saving technology for people in remote and impoverished regions throughout the world. Digital necklaces that contain an infants’ medical history are less than $1.00 and sleeping bags that help cure hypothermia are available at a fraction of the cost of radiant heaters, making them not only accessible but also a reality for several developing countries.
The Future is in Our Hands
The future of tech not only enables us to be bigger, better, and faster, but it enables us to healthier, stronger, and more mobile. Modern Medicine has made accessible information, Health Tracking Smartphone Apps, Machine Learning, AI, Robotics, Health Wearables, 3-D Printing, Biometrics Scanning, Cloning, and Transplants all very real and will change the future in ways that we can’t begin to imagine. We can only hope for the ongoing success of all of the dedicated researchers, engineers, scientists, physicians, and all others involved in continuing to make these medical marvels possible.