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When the pandemic hit, healthcare professionals had to harness every aspect of modern medical technology available to them to help us make it through and, most importantly, develop a vaccine. The speed with which they were able to do this simply would not have been a reality if medical technology hadn’t already advanced as far as it thankfully has. Technology is constantly growing, changing, and evolving. Medicine has changed over time, no longer all being conducted by hand, working with only what doctors can see or gauge with the naked eye, and consequently being far more dangerous. It is now a science that relies on data capture software, computer analysis, lab testing carried out with the aid of many machines, and life-saving discoveries made on microscopic levels.
The exciting trends in medical technology taking hold this year are essential to the expansion of medical science and for doctors to be able to treat and better understand the human body. Let’s look at the technology in healthcare that is taking off in this year.
Internet of Medical Things
Much like the Internet of Things, the Internet of Medical Things has taken off over the last few years. In 2020, it was valued at around 39.3 billion US dollars; it is expected to increase in value to approximately 172.4 billion US dollars by 2030. This concept in medicine is going to allow for an increase in patient awareness; using health trackers not only lets patients in on the inside workings of their own bodies and the development of conditions but it also provides doctors with real-time information that can help with research and keep patients safe from harm. Some of these devices are even gamified; rewards are awarded to patients when they have corrected behaviors or taken meds, for example. The more patients interact with their devices, the more information is available to doctors regarding sleep patterns, nutrition, and so on.
Medical Information Security
There is a lot of very private, very important data stored in every medical facility on the planet. Not only about the details of patients’ medical conditions but also their personal and sometimes financial information. Keeping this data safe and out of the hands of those who would use it illegally is a paramount concern in the medical community. Cybersecurity in medicine is incredibly advanced; it had to be. The number of attacks on healthcare data centers reached a fever pitch by the end of last year. Creative cybersecurity solutions like the level of threat detection within the Internet of Medical Things and the development of policing AI have gone a long way to discouraging and preventing these attacks and keeping data safe and secure.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote patient monitoring is improving the level of patient care outside medical facilities at an exciting rate. Those monitoring devices we talked about earlier help doctors keep an eye on patients when they aren’t in the hospital and mean that they have to be in the hospital less, which saves them time and money. It also means that patients who may not be able to reach doctors or hospitals very often for care (for reasons like distance, disability, or lack of finances) can be taken care of without a doctor on site. Resources for both hospitals and patients are saved, medical staff can dedicate their in-person attention to the patients who need it most, and the entire system continues to run smoothly.
Cloud computing is not only a significant current trend in the medical sector but also in almost all other industries. Cloud computing not only keeps data a lot safer than physical storage options (see our section on data safety), but it is also a financial and physical space-saving solution. Many service delivery challenges that have been hard to overcome are being dealt with by implementing cloud computing technology.
The current shortage of healthcare workers means that healthcare workers who are still in the medical field have to use their attention and efforts wisely. Any processes that can be automated to lighten the load and spare healthcare workers the extra stress are being mechanized with the use of robotic process automation. AI algorithms are available to medical staff to help them deal with daily tasks that take up too much time. This AI tech is also used to do basic symptom “scans” to decide which healthcare professional a patient may need to see to lighten the administrative load.
Medical technology is having an exciting growth spurt at the moment. Watching how technology can be implemented to improve medical care and the quality of life for patients who need it is fascinating.