Medical technology is always advancing, bringing about new benefits for hospitals, doctors, and patients. These seven technologies are just a few of the amazing innovations in the healthcare industry that make the world of medicine a better place.
Implantable Pain Relievers
Certain types of headaches, like cluster headaches, are extremely painful, yet don’t respond to treatment with most traditional pain relievers. A company called Autonomic Technologies, Inc. has created an implant meant to treat the pain that comes with cluster headaches. The ATI Neurostimulation System is placed at the SPG nerve bundle in the face, just above the second molar. The SPG nerve bundle is the culprit for causing painful cluster headaches. ATI’s device is controlled by the patient, and sends electronic pulses into the SPG nerves, providing therapy for headaches.
Instead of invasive surgical procedures, doctors can now perform surgeries by controlling small robotic devices. A new type of surgery called da Vinci Surgery offers doctors the ability to perform complicated procedures in a very minimally invasive way. Laparoscopic procedures accomplished this before, but were limited in scope and complexity. A wide array of procedures is available with the aid of these sensitive robotic devices.
The idea of going to the doctor online instead of in person might sound strange now. But new technology, like health apps and electronic health records, will help streamline the process. Information will end up more quickly and easily in the right hands, directing a patient’s care to the right nurse, physician assistant, or doctor with fewer unnecessary steps in between. The growing field of health informatics provides necessary research opportunities and information for the continuation of telemedicine.
Diabetes is a common illness that’s managed by routinely pricking fingertips to measure blood glucose and giving insulin shots. Echo Therapeutics is working on a patch that will measure blood glucose levels continuously and without needing to prick patients to do so. Echo’s Symphony device involves a biosensor that wirelessly sends data to a remote monitor, which sends up alarms if the blood glucose changes unfavorably.
Wireless Hospital Communications
Instead of using telephones, pagers, and call buttons to communicate in a hospital, the company Vocera has come up with a wireless system of healthcare communication. The small devices offer more streamlined communication between hospital workers and security, and between doctors, nurses, and patients. It offers a quieter environment for patients, and since the communication goes directly to the correct healthcare professional, response times are lower. There is also an option to connect with phones and computers to give the family and other healthcare providers access to patient care at all times.
Portable Wearable Defibrillators
Patients at risk for sudden cardiac arrest can now wear Zoll’s portable, non-adhesive defibrillator, called the LifeVest. The LifeVest continuously monitors the patient’s heart and sends out a shock to restore regular rhythm if a life-threatening irregular rhythm happens. Since many heart conditions and surgeries can put patients at risk for sudden cardiac arrest, the LifeVest gives doctors time to assess a patient’s long-term condition. Quality of life for a patient with LifeVest is much higher than without, since patients can go on day-to-day without the fear of sudden cardiac arrest.
iPhone Pulse Readings
Need to check your pulse rate and oxygen levels? There’s an app for that. iSpO2 by Masimo takes your pulse, detects oxygen levels, and taxes perfusion index readings. It comes with a sensor that goes onto your ring finger to determine this information. It’s not meant for use at home, but the idea is that people like aviators and people who engage in extreme sports can get this important information without needing to go to a doctor. For people who need to know basic vitals, this program is just the thing.
New healthcare technologies are providing better patient care, less invasive procedures, and solutions to new problems every day. Whether it’s monitoring diabetes without pricking a finger or wearing a defibrillator, these new innovations are bettering quality of life for patients, and giving healthcare professionals more avenues through which to help care for people.