Evolving technology has changed the way we work, play, learn, shop, travel, and interact with others. Technology has become a part of our lives, and healthcare is no exception.

It’s not just the technology we use to communicate with each other or access information; it’s also the technology that helps us diagnose illnesses, treat injuries, monitor health conditions, and even help us live longer.

Below, we discuss some of the key areas where technology has impacted the healthcare industry today and what we can see come to life one day.

Medical Technology of the Past and their Limitations

The medical field has always been an important part of our lives. From the time we were born until the time we die, we are exposed to various types of medical technologies. These include:

X-rays – these machines help doctors diagnose diseases by detecting abnormalities in the body. They use radiation to create images that can be used for diagnosis purposes, like mammography.

Ultrasound – these machines produce sound waves that bounce off the surface of the body. This helps doctors detect internal organs such as kidneys, heart, liver, etc.

Different types of scans – scanning devices such as MRI and PET are among the most common types that use magnetic fields and radioactive isotopes, respectively, to produce images of different areas in the body.

However, all these technologies have limitations. For example, they cannot provide information about the condition of the brain or the spinal cord. They aren’t able to provide information regarding the condition of the bone structure, either. Luckily, advancements in technology and groundbreaking medical inventions have allowed hospitals and medical professionals the ability to improve on prior findings and learn new techniques and methods for diagnoses.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a new technology that allows computers to learn from data and make decisions based on those learned lessons. AI technology is used in many industries today, including healthcare, and here’s how.

8 Ways Technology Has Helped the Healthcare Industry

While it would be nearly impossible to completely cover every aspect of how technology has helped the healthcare industry, here are 8 ways in which it’s done just that.

1. Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics uses statistical methods to predict future events based on past observations. For instance, a hospital may use predictive analytics to predict the likelihood of a patient having a heart attack within the next 24 hours.

2. Diagnostic Imaging

Diagnostic imaging is used to detect diseases like cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. It involves taking pictures of organs and tissues inside the body using X-ray machines, ultrasound scanners, CT scans, MRI scans, etc.

3. Medical Devices

Medical devices are tools that aid doctors in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. They range from simple blood pressure cuffs to complex robotic surgery systems.

4. EHR Systems

Electronic health records (EHR) are software applications that store medical information related to a patient’s care. These include billing codes, lab results, diagnoses, medications, procedures, and much more.

5. Telemedicine

Telemedicine is the practice of providing remote medical assistance over a distance via telecommunications technologies. It allows physicians to diagnose and treat patients remotely.

6. Mobile Health Apps

Mobile apps are mobile phone applications that run on smartphones and tablets. They provide access to various functions ranging from fitness tracking to appointment reminders.

7. Wearable Tech

Wearable tech is a category of products that track users’ physical activity and sleep patterns. Some examples include smartwatches, fitness bands, and smart glasses.

8. Brain Computer Interface

A brain-computer interface (BCI) is a device that connects the human brain with modern computing platforms. BCIs could help people who suffer from paralysis by allowing them to control external devices just by thinking about them.

Possible Technological Advancements for the Future

As technology improves from one year to the next, naturally what was considered a limitation may not be for much longer. With healthcare tech advancing rapidly, who’s to say what the future holds for medical innovations and devices? Here are some possible advancements we can expect to see soon:

3D Printing of Medical Items

The ability to print objects layer by layer has long been seen as a futuristic idea, but now it’s becoming a reality. In 2016, researchers at MIT developed a prototype of a 3D printer that can create objects out of liquid metals. If integrated into developing healthcare research, the possibility to create our very own custom prosthetics, implants, and other medical equipment may not be too out of reach.

Bioengineered Blood Soon to Be?

What may have seemed like a wild concept some 20 years ago may soon come to fruition. In July 2022, researchers of the University of Minnesota received a $3 million plus grant to conduct a trial of artificial blood vessels on human test subjects. A successful trial may mean a possible solution for pediatric patients in the future.

Surgery Without a Surgeon

Surgeons can already use robotic arms to assist in operations that they would normally do manually. Now, a surgical robot called the Da Vinci Surgical System can operate independently from its human controller. No longer does the surgeon need to scrub in to give orders to the machine, though they still control it.

Risks Of Further Technology Integration in Healthcare

While there are many benefits associated with the integration of technology into healthcare, there are also risks involved. As medical devices become more advanced, doctors will find themselves struggling to keep up with the latest technologies.

Privacy Risks

One risk of integrating technology into healthcare is privacy issues. Today, patients share extremely personal information with their physicians. However, if these systems become too sophisticated, then hackers could potentially access patient data.

Cost Overruns

As costs rise, hospitals will have less money left over to spend on things that help patients recover. For example, research shows that early detection of diseases saves lives because treatments work better when administered sooner. But advancements in technology may cause some treatments to become obsolete and increase overall spending.

Patient Acceptance

Finally, the acceptance of technology in healthcare depends largely upon how well it meets the needs of patients. There’s an increasing number of patients who want greater control over their health and treatment options. These individuals often feel overwhelmed by the number of available choices and don’t know where to turn for answers.

Final Thoughts

Technology continues to advance at an exponential rate. As these advances occur, they often bring with them significant changes in society. Today, there are many challenges facing humanity, especially related to health and safety concerns. However, if we keep making progress, these same technologies should eventually lead to a healthier and safer future for everyone.