The World Health Organization (WHO) refers to telemedicine as “healing from a distance”. Modern technology has enabled patients to share pertinent and personal information with a medical practitioner in a remote location via a secure video-conferencing channel has been a boon during the lockdown-induced months. Thus, if you are one of those, who live in a foreign country but rely on a doctor back home for alternative therapy or homoeopathy, this would have done wonders for you.
2. AI AND MACHINE LEARNING
Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform how healthcare is delivered. Artificial Intelligence has proved to be disruptive in every aspect of a patient’s life, right from assistive robots and robots that diagnose patients and treat people in their homes and workplaces, to clinical AI robots, which can even administer cognitive behavioural therapy. AI and machine learning can help discover better ways to identify disease, diagnose conditions, crowdsource and develop treatment plans, monitor health epidemics, create efficiencies in medical research and clinical trials, and make operations more efficient to handle the increased demands on the healthcare system. For example, with the help of Google DeepMind’s medical image-assistive AI, healthcare professionals can detect a number of sight-threatening diseases, and treat them before they manifest into something else.
3. WEARABLES AND HOME MONITORING SYSTEMS
Today, during a severe viral pandemic, remote monitoring medical devices and wearable medical tech help monitor crucial medical data and aid in diagnostics. Traditionally, patient monitoring devices were used in hospitals to monitor a patient’s vital signs. Nowadays, with more than 80% of people willing to wear wearable tech, there are many opportunities for these cloud-based devices to alert users if and when abnormal body temperature/movement is detected. These devices can be used to remotely monitor a patient’s various physiological parameters, and are particularly beneficial to those with heart ailments or women, who are pregnant.
4. 3D PRINTING
3D printing has enabled prototyping, customization, research, and manufacturing for healthcare. Surgeons can now replicate patient-specific organs with 3D printing to help prepare for critical procedures. 3D printing makes it easier to cost-effectively develop comfortable prosthetic limbs for patients and print tissues and organs for transplant. Also, 3D printing is extensively used in dentistry and orthodontics today!
5. VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY
How wonderful it would be if a patient could monitor their heart rate, blood pressure, calorie intake and burn, and other vitals through AR glasses of the future? Patients with chronic health issues will be able to sit in the comfort of their homes and monitor their health. If the patient needs quick administration of medicine, a doctor can perform a VR walkthrough showing the patient how they can administer the medicine themself. As the scope of VR improves, not just patients, doctors too, can prepare models and play out an entire operation with precision without going into an operation theatre. Surgeons can rehearse and experience potential outcomes before doing the real thing. This is in the nascent stage at the moment, but the prospect of AR and VR assistance in surgery is exciting!