For years researchers have been building connections between the fields of healthcare and technology by creating gadgets for health care. From devices that monitor blood sugar for diabetics to apps that help track panic attacks for individuals suffering from anxiety, the use of technology is becoming more prevalent in the medical field.
In 2017, the use of all kinds of technology grew. Here are a few interesting examples of the ways the medical industry has used consumer technology to increase wellness in the past year:
- Augmented Reality:
Augmented reality is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented or enhanced by computer-generated or extracted real-world sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.
This technology has been used predominantly for entertainment, but medical companies have begun to implement the use of augmented reality in the areas of patient care, surgery, and education. For example, Orca Health, Inc. has created an app called “Eye Decide” that allows doctors to simulate different symptoms associated with various medical issues and show them to the patient to show them what the long-term effects of those issues could be. The app developers are hoping that if patients can see what will happen to their vision if they don’t seek medical care, that they will be motivated to take action to resolve ocular issues.
- 3D Printing:
3D printing has been a big deal in technological circles for years and is now starting to make big waves in the medical community, as well. Medical researchers have been developing inventive ways to utilize 3D printing to improve and save lives. Some examples are the production of low-cost prosthetics, body models for educational purposes, bone scaffolds for implants, tissues with blood vessels and heart valves for transplants.
- Artificial (mechanical) Organs:
There have been many developments in the study of artificial organs, but one has been in the forefront of the media as of late. The artificial pancreas device mimics the function of a healthy pancreas by delivering insulin to the wearer’s body when needed. It does this by communicating with a blood glucose monitor (attached to the artificial pancreas). This system can ease the burden of constantly monitoring blood sugar levels for those who have Type 1 diabetes. This groundbreaking technology recently got FDA approval and is being introduced to patients 14 and older.
- Artificial Intelligence:
Ever seen a science fiction film about robots taking over the world? With artificial intelligence (AI), we are edging closer to that reality. Artificial intelligence allows digital computers to perform tasks normally associated with human behaviors. With this capability, medical researchers have been developing deep learning algorithms that have been able to diagnose tuberculosis, and diagnose and detect the spread of cancer in patients.
- Internet of Things (IoT):
The Internet of Things is the concept of connecting all electronic devices to the internet and each other, including cell phones, wearable gear, lamps, and any other device that can be plugged in. In healthcare, this means connecting patient’s medical devices to improve their care and safety. With the IoT, patients will be able to spend more time at home, and can also allow doctors to monitor whether or not patients are following orders and/or taking medications at the proper times and intervals.
These (and other) technological advances aim to change the face of the healthcare industry as we know it. Physicians and medical researchers are working hard to streamline a number of processes for the industry as a whole; 2018 should hold some interesting developments and innovations.
About Behavioral Health Professionals, Inc.:
Established in 2002 and headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, BHPI is a Managed Behavioral Health Organization offering behavioral health services through a fully integrated network of world-class healthcare providers. Our emphasis is on adding value for our customers by offering expert behavioral care management, medical coordination, chronic behavioral condition management. We are a fully accredited NCQA Managed Behavioral Health Organization (MBHO) & CARF Behavioral Health Business Network. BHPI offers collaborative solutions by building strong partnerships with health plans, health systems, community mental health organizations, and employer groups.
For more information visit:BHPI.org