A technology expert unpacks how a number of healthcare disruptors are leading towards a "brighter future" for the industry
From augmented reality surgery to 3D-printed organs, the healthcare industry is filled with disruptors. Brad Smith, tech expert at TurnOnVPN – a campaign for private and secure internet – takes a closer look.
One thing that has caused many significant changes in the healthcare sector is the use of highly advanced technology.
Using technology helps doctors perform tasks effectively and accurately, from information sharing to doing high-risk surgeries.
Technology use in healthcare is also expected to increase gradually, promising a brighter future for this sector.
In this article, we look at the different types of technology being used in the healthcare sector today and how they are disrupting the industry.
How artificial intelligence is creating healthcare disruptors
Healthcare is one of the industries that have been massively disrupted by artificial intelligence.
AI systems analyse and memorise the most clinically relevant information from medical records hence making it easy for doctors to treat different conditions effectively.
AI systems have made the treatment of severe conditions such as diabetes and cancer easy as they help doctors make their diagnoses very fast.
Also, these systems enable medical practitioners to detect cancer and other dangerous diseases in their early stages hence allowing people to seek early treatment.
Apart from helping people get a faster diagnosis for varying conditions, these systems also allow patients to get quality treatment at a lower cost.
The internet of things in healthcare
The use of the internet of things (IoT) in healthcare did not start so long ago, but it has shown great potential and benefits. Some of these benefits include:
- IoT solutions help doctors to monitor their patients in real-time hence allowing them to save a lot of time and money.
- Internet of things enables doctors to serve patients better and more accurately since it provides every necessary information and data.
- This technology advancement facilitates better management of drugs in a healthcare facility. How? IoT helps doctors to track supplies and medicine quickly hence reducing confusion and misuse of drugs in the hospital.
The benefits of 3D printing in healthcare
At the moment, the commonly used 3D applications in healthcare are prosthetics and medical devices like hearing aids and dental implants.
The best thing about using 3D printing is that it can be customised to fulfill different needs.
For instance, 3D printing can be customised to help reduce the required surgery time and reduce most medical expenses.
Years to come, 3D printing will be more significant as it will enable doctors to print vital human tissues such as hands, eyes, ears, livers, and even hearts.
Moreover, 3D printing can be a lifesaver as it can help people without donors to get healthy and fully functional organs easily.
Augmented reality in surgery
Augmented reality is among the latest innovations in healthcare.
Using augmented surgery has helped surgeons significantly, especially when doing complicated procedures.
How? This technology enables a surgeon to enter CT scans and a patient’s MRI data in a unique headset and overlay precise anatomy on the person’s body before the actual procedure.
That way, a surgeon can perform a more successful surgery since it makes it possible to view the patient’s muscles, internal organs, and bones before the operation.
Providing care at home
Remote care, also known as telemedicine or telehealth, is a significant improvement in healthcare as it allows patients to get treatment through the phone.
So, providing remote care gives the elderly and people living far from the hospital to receive proper treatment without meeting the doctor physically.
Remote care also ensures that patients get an immediate response, especially during emergencies.
So, using remote care helps both doctors and patients to save a lot of time compared to physical treatments.
Even though recent technology advancements have helped the healthcare industry to improve in a lot of ways, they face some cyber security issues that limit their effectiveness.
Cyber security issues facing the internet of things
Most IoT devices do not have encrypted operating systems hence making them very vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
So, an attacker can remotely disable implantable insulin pumps and prevent them from functioning correctly or even control how a pacemaker system works.
If that happens, the patient can have difficulties getting the necessary medication, which can even cause severe complications.
Also, some cyber-criminals are hijacking IoT devices and using them as botnets in their distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks thus making the need for security measures more vital.
The best way for healthcare facilities and patients to prevent such cyber-attacks is to use high-quality virtual private networks (VPNs).
Using VPNs will help patients and doctors to establish a secure network when communicating or sharing crucial information.
That way, a cyber-criminal will find it difficult to attack in any way.
As you can see, there are many ways that recent technology advancements have helped improve the healthcare sector.
However, cyber security is a major issue that limits the quality of some of these services.
So, use VPNs to ensure secure browsing and IoT systems.
Ultimately, technologies like IoT, AI, 3D printing, AR, etc, shall completely revolutionise the healthcare industry.