Health care is constantly evolving and rightfully so as new discoveries on diseases and their etiological factors continue to be unearthed. In addition, man’s definition for good health care is also constantly evolving. Today, cutting-edge technology creates innovations in the field of medicine are geared towards making service delivery more efficient or improving the outcome of disease states.These are the most exciting innovations that will likely define health care in the twenty-first century:
1. Stem cell therapy
Stem cells are immature cells found in the human body. They can differentiate into literally any specialized cell type. This characteristic is referred to as pluripotentiality. And this is what makes stem cells a gold mine in the search for cures of common and hard to treat ailments. Stem cells are being harvested and used to replace faulty cell lines in the body with great success. Case and point the use of stem cells to treat refractory Crohn’s disease. Stem cells, particularly from plants, are also being utilized in the field of dermatology to manufacture anti-aging serums and creams
2. 3D printing
There is no doubt that three dimensional printing has revolutionized the world of goods production. This widespread impact has had its way into medical laboratories. Three dimensional printed cadavers and body parts are being produced to aid in learning by medical students. Also, research is ongoing on the endless possibilities of manufacturing human parts for transplant surgery most notably, manufacture of heart valves for valvuloplasty.
3. Artificial Intelligence
A humanoid robot named Pepper has been engineered to accurately interpret human emotions as well as read human body language. The applications of this kind of artificial intelligence in the field of healthcare are endless. For instance, Pepper can be used to take a medical history and, with the right input, make an accurate medical diagnosis.
4. Robotic surgery
Now more than ever, the prospect of robotic surgery is a real possibility. The latest invention in this field has four robotic arms and is designed to perform complex surgeries. Human input is still required in making the right diagnosis and present operative as well as post-operative care, but this invention will go a long way in increasing accuracy of surgical procedures. Be that as it may, time will tell how expensive surgeries performed by robots will be.
A vaccine for a form of community-acquired pneumonia was developed only recently and has gone a long way in reducing the death toll caused by this all too common lung infection, especially in children under five years of age in third world countries. A vaccine for Rotavirus, a common stomach virus with devastating consequences if and when it infects children has also been developed in the recent past. In addition, a vaccine against Human Papilloma Virus, the commonest Sexually Transmitted Infection in the world, has also been developed in the recent past. This virus is the causative agent of cervical cancer, one of the commonest cancers affecting women of reproductive age worldwide. Thus, vaccines have done immense work in reducing morbidity and mortality rates caused by common ailments. Currently, production of vaccines against type 1 diabetes and HIV is underway.
6. Healthcare Education System Overhaul
According to the World Health Organisation, there is a major shortage of doctors and other healthcare providers worldwide. This has prompted innovators to come up with nifty solutions to churn out as many qualified doctors as possible in the shortest time possible. This had led to an overhaul in the healthcare education system where students can actually learn online and get a degree. Some websites even offer a Master’s degree in Public Health. This overhaul has also led to the rise of YouTube channels and mobile applications as learning platforms for medical students worldwide.
7. Medical mobile applications
Computers have lead to cutting-edge technology developing faster than ever. The internet, for instance, has made information much more easily available. Thus, people are more aware of risk factors that are likely to lead to disease states and are intent on avoiding them. Medical apps make this possible by providing medical tips and medical advice. They also offer first aid tips. Medical apps are diverse and tend to target specialized groups of people. For instance, there are medical apps specifically for pregnant women that answer any questions and prepare for safe labor. More apps are being developed everyday and this is a good thing as they offer an excellent platform to help patients access the medical information they so desperately seek.
All in all, healthcare advancements benefit all parties involved, the doctor and the patient. Medical innovators are deeply engrossed in plans to produce the next big thing.