Is the Healthcare Industry Getting Smarter?
Last year, Americans spent $3.4 trillion on healthcare. If nothing else, this figure illuminates the wild costs associated with medical care. But the healthcare industry is starting to move in the right direction. It is becoming more flexible, nimbler, and smarter all with the use of new research and technologies.
Usher In The Wearables
Wearable devices are becoming the norm for patients as they are an easy way to track heart rates, blood pressures, and so many more diagnostics. These devices allow for metrics that can be instantly transferred to a physician for constant updates on a patient’s status.
The future will transform wearables to ingestibles—nanoscale devices that would be implanted into our bodies. Ingestible devices could capture incredibly detailed data from inside our bodies allowing physicians to develop a custom treatment plan to address our individuals concerns. Ingestible pills are already being developed that will report in real-time from within the body. The future could be one where autonomous nanorobots will eventually move within our bloodstream literally diagnosing and treating problems as soon as they arise.
A Virtual World
Other strides made in the industry include telehealth. This advanced development allows patients to meet with their physician or practitioner virtually and get the medical treatment they need without ever leaving their home. With the ability to treat a range of symptoms, physicians can access a patient’s chart on their smartphone and discuss the proper treatment right over the internet. This can eliminate the potential of a cold spreading throughout a doctor’s office as sick patients no longer have to drag themselves into the waiting room.
From Hospitals to Personal Robotic Caregivers
While the advancements in knowledge and technology have been significant over the last few decades, hospitals have not really moved the needle much. Yet tomorrow’s hospitals will undoubtedly leverage robotics and digital technologies. Many of the tasks performed by physicians today will be enhanced and automated by technology in the future.
Fifteen years ago, a New York surgeon performed the world’s first successful tele-surgery procedure when he removed the gallbladder of an elderly man 3,870 miles away in France using a surgical robot. It would not be unreasonable to expect most healthcare delivery to be done virtually rather than in person within the next twenty years. Next-generation smart devices will attend to the basic needs of patients such as performing diagnostics. Robot caregivers will supervise and assist the elderly on a daily basis.
These are only a few of the myriad advancements and innovations that the healthcare industry is working on today. There are further developments in the pipeline and countless more technologies are on the horizon. Hang on to see what’s next in healthcare.