As we leave the past year behind and celebrate the dawn of 2017, one must realize that mankind has never before been at the threshold of such vast potential, and all this is because of the gigantic leaps in technology and innovation, over the past few decades. The world of healthcare is about to witness its biggest shakeup in recorded history. Here are 6 impacts of technology in healthcare to look forward to in 2017:
1. The Microbiome – Preventing, Diagnosing and Treating Disease
Humans depend on an army of microbes to stay alive: a microbiome that protects us against germs, breaks down food to release energy, and produces vitamins. Microbes and the chemicals they emit inside our body, determine the way food is digested, nutrients are absorbed, medicines are utilized and even how a disease advances.
The advent of technology in healthcare will enable the focus to shift from the genome market to the vast potential of the microbiome, in 2017.
These miraculous microbes are paving the way in the development of new diagnostics, new therapies and products to prevent dangerous diseases.
In 2017, the focus of the National Microbiome Initiative in the USA, will be on the use of advanced technology in healthcare, to accelerate research and development. Experts believe 2017 is the year the microbiome becomes the healthcare industry’s most promising and lucrative frontier.
2. Diabetes Drugs to Combat Cardiovascular Ailments
Statistically speaking, half of patients in the world with Type 2 diabetes will die from complications of cardiovascular disease. Past their 65th birthdays, the odds go up to 70 percent. In 2017, the involvement of technology in healthcare will hopefully see this villain put to rest.
In 2016, two new medicines began reducing the mortality rates considerably, in focused pilot ventures. Empagliflozin modifies the progression of heart disease by working with the kidney while Liraglutide has a comprehensive effect on many organs.
These positive results are the foundation of yet another milestone of the impact of technology in healthcare.
Experts predict that 2017 will mark a paradigm shift in the line-up of medicines and treatment prescribed for diabetes patients. A wave of research into new avenues targeting Type 2 diabetes and its co-morbidities is also on the horizon.
3. Genetically Reprogrammed Cells to Fight Tumours
In 2017, technology in healthcare will see a whole new frontier. Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy is a technique in immunotherapy where a patient’s immune system T-cells are removed and genetically reprogrammed to seek and destroy tumour cells.
The results have been outstanding. Studies focusing on acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have reported a remission rate of 90 percent.
This revolutionary treatment is expected to be presented in 2017 in the US, to the FDA for treatment of ALL. This grounbreaking impact of technology of healthcare is likely to encourage a wave of approvals in 2017, for other blood cancers and lymphomas as well.
Genetically reprogrammed cells could be tomorrow’s alternative to chemotherapy and its lifetime of side effects.
4. Liquid Biopsies to Find Circulating Tumour DNA
In 2017, tests known as liquid biopsies are set to usher in a revolution in cancer detection, powered by technology in healthcare. Liquid biopsies are non-invasive blood tests that detect circulating tumour cells (CTCs) and fragments of tumour DNA that are shed into the blood from the primary tumour and from metastatic sites.
This free circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) is more than 100 times more abundant in the blood than tumour cells.While studies are still underway, annual sales of this revolutionary cancer test are forecast to be $10 billion.
With the newest ray of hope in early cancer detection, expected to be made possible by technology in healthcare, in 2017, experts believe it’s only a matter of time before catching and treating cancer is as routine as an annual check-up.
5. Automotive Safety Driven by Technology in Healthcare
Automobile accidents remain a leading cause of death and disability, across the world. New automatic safety features such as collision warning systems to drowsiness alerts to adaptive cruise control, promises to combat the rising fatalities in 2017. Safety technology is expected to surge in the coming year, driven by a shift in focus due to advent of technology in healthcare.
6. 3-D visualization and augmented reality for surgery
Many say that surgeons are as close to God that one can get. They hold countless lives in their hands every day. Yet they have no choice but to depend on their own eyes and interpretations to execute the most precise tasks — with their heads down, peripheral vision limited and back and neck muscles strained. This is set to change very soon, thanks to advent of technology in healthcare in 2017.
Two of the most intricate surgical fields, neurosurgery and retinal microsurgery, have begun using technology that keeps surgeons’ heads up while immersing them in a high-resolution, 3-D visual representation of their subject.
Those who have piloted the technology say the added comfort and visual information will allow surgeons to operate more efficiently and effectively.
Technology in Healthcare – A World of Endless Possibilities
Today’s technology is so advanced that it allows us to digitize humans. We can remotely monitor the things that make us tick. Listen to, and record every heart beat, study brain waves, image any part of the body and do a three-dimensional reconstruction, take blood pressure readings at each instant, keep track of body temperature and oxygen concentration in the blood, monitor breathing, map a person’s genetic sequence. The possibilities are endless. And this is only what technology does to monitor and improve healthcare of an individual.
There is an entire universe of things that can be accomplished using technology at the levels of administration, logistics and accessibility.
Related Read:5 Technologies Dictating the Future of Healthcare !
Big Data, IoT and the Connectivity Revolution – Healthcare Like Never Before
Big data analytics finds its use in the field of healthcare in crunching data to offer better diagnosis and treatment options. Doctors can keep track of patient history, stay up-to-date on medical research and analyze treatment alternatives, all with the press of a button. The connectivity revolution has enabled patients to connect to doctors with ease. No more confusion resulting from improper communication. No more language constraints. Doctors can now consult and collaborate with their peers in real time, paving the way for specialized care at even the most remote locations. A growing number of mobile apps and gadgets aim to help people stay active, sleep well and eat healthy.
All this data about an individual is assembled from wireless sensors, assimilated using preset algorithms, integrated with the conventional medical data and kept constantly updated. None of this would be possible without the proliferation of smart technologies – the omnipresence of smart phones, social networking and bandwidth allocation. Technology is undoubtedly giving the health care industry a much needed upgrade. Much is still in the infancy stages but the evidence is there for all to see. Cheers to 2017, the year for the biggest shake-up in healthcare in recorded history.
Quality of life is something that man holds sacred. Technology has raised the bar for quality and healthcare, and is enabling man to live a more prosperous and productive life.