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Technology Makes Medicine Less Mysterious

Lindsey Patterson Dec 17, 2019
These days, medical advancements are being created at a faster rate than ever. Impacting everything from the production of medical supplies to surgical training to patient aftercare, this technology has a wide variety of applications.
More lives are being saved, and the quality of life is also being improved from the moment a patient enters a hospital to the point of his or her recovery. There are several new technological applications in medical field.

Medical Drones

Over recent years the transport of critical medical supplies has become more efficient, saving many lives that otherwise might not be saved. Medicine, tissues and transfusable blood are just a few of the items transported by drone. As technology grows, so do the possibilities.
In early 2019, the first drone-delivered organ, a donated kidney, was flown to the recipient’s hospital 2.8 miles away and then transplanted successfully. Drones are particularly important for delivering to places that are difficult to access. Hours can be reduced to mere minutes when opting for drone transport.

Artificial Intelligence

Humans, no matter how intelligent or talented, are error-prone. This is especially true of medical professionals, often fatigued both physically and mentally. Artificial intelligence (AI) can be virtually error-free, using deep learning and algorithms to diagnose and even predict disease in patients.
Computers can analyze and learn whole libraries of data quickly and recognize patterns within this data. Proven to outperform humans, AI is quickee and more accurate in diagnosing conditions in specialties of pathology and radiology.

Robotics

More invasive medical procedures are replaced by robotic interventions. One miniature robot, HeartLander has been developed to perform therapy on a beating heart’s surface. It enters the body through a tiny incision. A doctor navigates the robot, which travels to a part of the heart and gets to work. Medical robotics are more precise and less painful.

Immersive Technology

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are two types of immersive technologies that blend virtual elements into the real world. Users are able to view, interact with and manipulate 3D images with their hands or a stylus.
With AR technology, digital information is projected into the real-world environment. MRI and CT scans are combined to create a 3D image of a patient’s internal anatomy. With the help of an AR headset, this image can be viewed and manipulated on a virtual screen or as a virtual overlay on the patient’s body.
A surgeon can clearly see the patient’s organs, musculature, bones and blood vessels as if the body is transparent, no incision required. On a smaller scale, a medical professional can see almost unrecognizable veins clearly to more accurately make a blood draw or injection.
VR can be used to help to divert a patient’s focus away from a lengthy, painful or anxiety-provoking medical procedure by totally immersing them in an interactive environment. The patient wears VR glasses to virtually escape to a relaxing atmosphere or play a game.
With the use of surgery simulation software, VR can also help medical professionals learn new techniques and skills without having to practice on a real person.

3D Printing

One of the risks of major surgery is the time that it takes to perform. Outside the operating room, the surgeon can, on his or her own time, practice on a 3D-printed model of the patient’s organ. So, if it’s a new surgical technique or a complication specific to that patient, the procedure can be tested beforehand, potentially shortening the actual surgery.
Medical devices such as prosthetics, implants and stents can also be designed and printed to custom fit a patient. These customized devices lead to much better results; they’re more comfortable, safer and in the case of an implant, the body is less likely to reject it.
It seems that technology has no limit, and each type of technology has an endless number of uses. Ultimately the goal in medicine is to save lives and these technological innovations make it increasingly achievable every day.