New technological advancements in healthcare are revolutionizing the way doctors administer patient care and expanding the range of treatment options available for patients. Doctors can provide more patient-centric, customizable treatment and care specific to a patient’s condition or ailment as opposed to the one-size-fits-all solution relied on up till now.

As life expectancy increases, the future will see patients demanding successful treatment options for diseases traditionally associated with old age. Researchers need to continue to work hard to meet this type of demand. There have been many advances in healthcare technology but here are five advances in we have seen in 2017 that push us closer to these goals.

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  1. Improvements in Bioelectronics

Doctors are using electronic equipment to regulate signals inside the body. Multiple diseases are caused by improper communication along nerves. Traditionally, medications have been used to try to treat these faulty signals. Rather than rely on medications, small implants can be used strategically to regulate irregular signals internally, which would reduce or eliminate the need for medication or prescription drugs.

Diseases that could be treated with this technology include those resulting from inflammatory responses, such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. Before implementation, electronic implants would undergo rigorous testing in a sanitary environment to ensure the required safety and hygiene protocol is being met. Once finalized and approved, consumers could save time and money by avoiding regular pharmacy visits for pricey prescriptions that are often not 100% effective in treating these kinds of conditions.

  1. Augmented Reality Healthcare Education

It goes without saying that augmented reality affords medical students the opportunity to study anatomy without relying solely on cadavers. Portions of the human body can be represented by composite imagery based on scans from patients. Students can then view the imagery close-up, from all angles, and study the specifics of how it is situated and connected to the body as a whole.

Medical students studying surgical procedures can also benefit from augmented reality. Afflicted organs can be viewed outside of the body before surgery is performed to determine the best approach for removing areas which have been compromised. This can reduce the amount of tissue removed from a patient’s body and more importantly, will also ensure that all affected tissue is removed.

  1. Boom in Internet of Things

In order to meet the increased patient demand for seamless healthcare monitoring options, major players in the healthcare industry are investing in the internet of things, known as the IoT. The IoT offers patients a more convenient method of monitoring, recording and tracking their treatment.

Results can be shared directly with doctors using cloud technology. Patients can save time and money by reducing the number of times they need to visit a doctor for check-ups. Physicians can also track how well patients are adhering to a treatment plan. Rural communities or elderly patients who are unable to drive to a doctor’s office will, therefore, have more healthcare options.

In addition, the internet of things also helps to improve patient safety by improving the production process of medical devices. Assembling and testing electronic medical equipment in a sanitary environment is crucial to patient safety. The FDA has regulations in place to maintain these standards. Patients ultimately benefit since the internet of things helps to improve manufacturing efficiency, which gives doctors the opportunity to save more lives.

  1. 3D Printed Drugs You Can Make at Home

Far-fetched as it might sound, imagine the convenience of printing a customized prescription at home. Although it is not quite happening yet, the idea might not be that far off. 3D printing has advanced to the point where researchers are perfecting the technology needed to print replicas of organs, body parts, and arteries. Customized prescription drugs with specific doses best suited to individual patients may not be that far off.

Although patients would reap the benefits of this technology, pharmaceutical companies would need to reformulate their business plan. This could include providing the printers that patients and doctors would need to create their custom medications.

  1. Introduction of Leadless Pacemakers

Traditional pacemakers use wires that are connected to muscles to treat certain heart conditions involving irregular rhythms. The components of conventional pacemakers, including the wires and the generator, have been shown to cause complications in approximately 10% of patients. Patients also need to undergo surgery for implantation, which is invasive and can lead to permanent scarring.

Leadless pacemakers don’t require the same generator or wires used by traditional models, which reduces the potential for future complications. Another benefit is the implantation method. A leadless pacemaker can be implanted using a catheter, and this eliminates the need for a surgical procedure. Patients can have full upper body modality following the implant, unlike with a traditional pacemaker.

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