The operating room of centuries past looks very different from the operating room of today – and we have technology to thank for that.
In medicine and health care sciences, technology has been there every step of the way, and what we understand about the human body and how it works couldn’t have come as far as it has without the support of massive technological innovations. Looking back on the advancements of yesteryear, we can’t help but wonder – what does the future of health care have in store for us?
Robotics Assisted Surgery
In many ways, the future of medicine is already here with us and perhaps the most telling of these procedures is in robotics assisted surgery. Commonly used with sensitive cameras, precise mechanical arms of surgical tools, and a highly trained surgeon controlling their every move, surgeries of virtually any kind becomes minimally invasive, hyper-controlled, and lead to quicker recovery times and diminished complications. Though attitudes towards robot-assisted surgery aren’t always stellar, son learning on the benefits, lowered risk factors, and minimally invasive practices, 56% of people are likely to choose robot-assistance for their upcoming procedures.
Downsizing of Medical Tech
Let’s consider the downsizing of medical technology – bigger isn’t always better.
Since 1995, fifty nano-enhanced pharmaceutals have been approved by the FDA with more to come in the future. Nanomedicine, referenced from the word “nano” meaning one billionth of a meter or 25,400,000 in an inch, nano-tech applied in health care means big results for effective treatments as smaller drugs and hyper-precise delivery systems. For patients going through chemotherapy in particular, nanomedicine can deliver treatments directly to targeted tumors on a microscopic scale, instead of poisoning the entire body. In addition, this allows dicots to reduce even the frequency of drug injections by slowly releasing medicine within from a single nanoparticle.
3-D Printing With PolyPill
While larger than nano medicine, the polypill calls on the power of 3-D printing to combine medications for multitude of conditions into one convenient pill. For patients managing and living with more than one illness, the polypill can hold several drugs at once, each with their own release time if necessary, and turns five pills a day into just one. The improvements for quality of life when it comes to 3-D printing do not end there, however. In the years between 2010 and 2016, 3-D printing capabilities in hospitals free by 3200% from just three faculties to 99 faculties. On-site 3-D printing means faster response times for artificial bones, custom prosthetics, and even tiny organs grown from patient stem cells.
Shifting focus away from pharmaceutical tech for a moment, we are left with an area of health care that sometimes gets ignored by tech advancements – mental health.
The area of therapists, psychiatrists, and behavioral health specialists, mental health is tricky and often misunderstood and managing conditions can become a lifelong battle for patients. When introduced in hospital settings, virtual reality (VR) tech goes far beyond just training and simulations; it offers a whole new world for mental health treatments as well. Immersion in realistic, environments have been shown to lower levels of pain and anxiety as well as inducing relaxing effects.
Furthermore, exposure therapy offers patients the options to relive traumatizing events in safe and controlled environments, in order to both accept emotions and face fears. In just five years, the very value of VR itself in health care will grow over 30 times from $8.9 million in 2017 to $285 million by 2022.
Leaving Room for Innovation
We’ve come a long way from treating illnesses with leeches; luckily today we know better. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t more room for incredible innovation. In just the next decade or so it’s hard to say exactly what will be in store for our health care, but if current research tells us anything it’s that we can expect great things to come.
What does healthcare of the future look like to you? This infographic details the present and high-tech future of medicine from VR to AI and everything in between.