Advances in medical technology are beginning to focus on products that deliver faster, cheaper, and more efficient care for all. There are many exciting developments that will surely benefit the health industry, especially the patients who need the best in health care the most. Here are just a few of these advances and what they can offer.
A medical technology being investigated at Autonomic Technologies in Redwood City, California is designed for people who suffer from chronic headaches and migraines. The electronic aspirin is permanently implanted on the side of the head. When the patient feels a headache coming on, he or she can simply place a handheld remote controller on the cheek next to the implant.
The signals resulting from the connection stimulate the nerves associated with the headache and block the neurotransmitters that cause pain.
Diabetes care without needles
Patients with diabetes deal with needles every day, from drawing blood for glucose testing to taking insulin shots. To eliminate the need for pricking, Echo Therapeutics is developing transdermal biosensor that can analyze blood chemistry levels through the skin. The sensor sends the data to a remote monitor wirelessly and triggers alarms when the levels go out of the patient’s optimal range.
New medical robots can now patrol hallways in hospitals to check on patients, check their vital signs, and manage patient charts without direct human intervention. This sounds a lot like Baymax from the Disney animated film Big Hero 6, doesn’t it? The medical robot—a mobile cart with medical monitoring equipment and a two-way video screen—made by InTouch Health and iRobot Corp. already as the FDA clearance for hospital use, so expect to see a real-life Baymax in your hospital soon.
Some medical robots are also used in place of human patients so that doctors can test a procedure first and determine if it will be a success. For instance, tests done on a robotic leg that behaves in the same way as a person’s leg can be used to determine the most suitable stitching method after implanting a prosthesis.
Portal technology and self-service kiosks
With portal technology, patients are empowered and become active players in their own healthcare. This technology lets patients and their doctors access medical records easily. Patients will also become better educated about their health care. Self-service kiosks can help patients go through processes such as hospital registration quickly and easily.
Glue for your tissues
Tissue glues are used to help seal surgical incisions and prevent sutures from leaking. Leakage from sutures can cause infection and result in life-threatening complications. Over the years, many efforts have been undertaken to create the most effective tissue glues. A study done by research scientists at the MIT Institute for Medical Science and Engineering found that the effectiveness of tissue glues depend on the state of the tissue in which they are used. Their study presents a new paradigm or method by which to design and examine the materials used in creating tissue glues, so that treating individual patients can take on a more personalized approach.
Advances in medical technology have truly come a long way since X-rays. Wearable medical devices, catheter insertion kits, and remote monitoring tools are just the start of what’s to come in health care, and by the looks of it, there’s going to be a lot more.