Could These be the 10 Biggest Health Care Technology Innovations in 2015?
Healthcare has made a lot of progress in the last few years, but the real excitement has yet to come. Dozens of new technologies are poised to grant us immeasurably better health in only a few years’ time and some of these fledgling fields may provide us with better medicine as soon as this year. Here are the ten biggest health care technology innovations we’ll see in 2015 and beyond!
1. Blood Testing
Testing blood has always been inefficient. Historically, we’ve always needed to draw a lot of blood to run only a few tests. Companies like Theranos are changing everything. New testing methods allow laboratory technicians to run tests with samples only 1/1000 of the usual size, thereby reducing costs and patient discomfort while expediting the procedures.
2. Digital Promotion
New enterprise cloud business intelligence software is revolutionizing the way medical practices handle referrals and promotion. Ditching the pad of paper used by nearly all healthcare systems in favor of an electronic alternative, the new digital systems will help practices avoid unnecessary expenditures. As it stands, nearly 50% of referrals don’t lead to a visit, and misplaced or stolen referrals lead to a growing number of malpractice suits each year.
3. Simulated Training
No one wants to consider the possibility that a surgeon is performing an operation for the first time, but everyone requires training. Thankfully, it’s now possible to simulate the environment in which surgeons operate. The Roswell Park Cancer Institute has helped spur the use of a Robotic Surgery Simulator (or RoSS) which allows surgeons to experiment in different situations.
4. Nanobot Medicine
Nanobot medicine payloads have successfully been tested in animal trials. All that’s left to do is conduct studies using human subjects, and we may have a method of both preventing and treating many dangerous diseases and ailments, including cancer. Nanobots are special because of their microscopic size and the ability to deliver regional treatment like chemotherapy directly to the cells which need them, and that means no more friendly fire.
5. Reconstructive Surgery
Stem-cell treatments are on the rise, especially in reconstructive and plastic surgeries. Lipo-filling involves transporting fat cells from one part of the body to another in order to repair damaged tissue or fix deformities, and stem-cell enhanced fat is proven to retain 81% of its volume compared to lipo-filling’s 16%. This is just one of the many invasive reconstructive and plastic surgeries which stem-cell treatments have the potential to replace, and soon.
6. Holographic Displays
Motion-control technology is expanding rapidly into the mainstream, and will be paired with holographic displays in the near future. Keyboards in particular are extremely difficult to clean properly, but they’re impossible to live without in medical environments. Germs can’t infiltrate a holographic display, and that should help hospitals stay just a little bit cleaner.
7. Modernized Hospitals
Hospitals haven’t changed all that much in decades, so companies like NXT Health are hoping to revolutionize patient care with modernized rooms. In addition to providing a more comfortable atmosphere, the goal of the program focuses on creating a modular system capable of efficiently switching in and out necessary components while eliminating redundancy and human error.
8. Mind Control
Great progress has been made in the field of prosthetic limbs. Not only are they becoming more aesthetically pleasing and realistic, but now we can control them with only our minds. The technology reads brain activity in order to send impulse signals which make the limb function. It doesn’t yet provide human-like mobility and dexterity, but we’re getting closer and closer. How long before we can augment the human body with additional parts which respond to our own brain signals?
9. Mitochondrial DNA Transfer
The U.K. recently legalized a procedure in which newborns can have up to three biological parents. The process uses mitochondrial DNA transfer in order to reduce or eliminate the genetic transfer of rare and debilitating diseases, but could also one day help non-traditional couples have children.
10. Head Transplants
It may seem far-fetched, but there has been talk in the medical community of transplanting human heads. This charge has been led by the assumption that Moore’s Law will be upheld for an indefinite time period. The law states that the number of transistors that can be allocated to a computer chip is effectively doubled every two years, increasing the speed and effectiveness of computer processing at an exponential rate.
When we combine this growth with our ability to map the human brain, we can start talking about the possibility of uploading a human mind to another body even without a brain transplant. One day soon, we may even have the option of transferring our consciousness into a robotic body, extending our life expectancy indefinitely.
Dr. Sergio Canavero suggests that it’s already possible to remove the head from one person and transport into to the body of another, and he believes the first such operation could occur within the remarkably small time frame of just two years.
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