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How Technology is Changing the Medical Field

By 2030, 171 million Americans will have some form of chronic disease, and the U.S. will face a shortage of up to 104,900 physicians

Healthcare workers are going to have to find a way to keep up with growing need一Luckily, new technologies are emerging to help

Artificial Intelligence

Developing AI technologies could more quickly and accurately diagnose:
Strokes caused by blockages in large blood vessels, saving time and brain cells
Eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration
Heart disease through interpretation of echocardiograms
Skin cancer with more accuracy than dermatologists

In a survey of healthcare executives:

Where do you use AI in your healthcare facility?
Clinical decision support:
2017: 46%
Plan for 2018: 13%

Population health:
2017: 33%
Plan for 2018: 13%

Disease management:
2017: 29%
Plan for 2018: 13%

Virtual Healthcare

Virtual visits with doctors, nurses, or other healthcare specialists through communication technology (e.g. video conferencing, messaging, mobile apps)

Gives patients the option to stay home for check-ups and status updates

Allows patients to consult out-of-town specialists without having to travel

Opens up lines of communication leading up to in-person visits

53% of people who use health monitors or wearable fitness trackers say they share data with their doctor

Using virtual healthcare practices for annual patient visits would save:
5 minutes per encounter for every U.S. primary care physician
Equivalent of 37,000 PCPs, or 18% of the workforce
$7 billion in economic value

Attitudes about virtual care
23% of patients have had a virtual visit with a doctor or nurse
57% Of those who haven’t had a virtual visit are willing to try it

Reasons patients are wary:
28% Loss of personal connection with doctor
28% Concerns about quality of care
24% Issues with access to technology

Reasons patients are optimistic:
33% More convenient hours
25% Ease of use when not feeling well enough to leave the house
25% Closest doctor is far from home or work


The use of nanotechnology and nanodevices to improve medical treatment and diagnosis on an extremely small scale

A nanometer is 1 billionth of a meter
25,400,000 nanometers in an inch

If a marble were one nanometer, one meter would be the size of the Earth

Smaller drugs and more precise delivery systems will allow doctors to:
Deliver chemotherapy directly to targeted tumors instead of poisoning an entire body
Reduce the frequency of drug injections by slowly releasing medicine from a single nanoparticle
Since 1995, 50 nanopharmaceuticals have received FDA approval

Virtual Reality

VR for healthcare worker training
In one study, 93% of radiologists who viewed images of arteries through 3D VR technology were more confident when diagnosing splenic artery aneurysms

MedStar Health, which operates 10 hospitals in the Baltimore-Washington area, is training healthcare workers by using VR headsets that immerse them in simulated emergency room scenarios

VR for physical and mental health
Pain management: Immersion in virtual worlds has been shown to lower levels of pain and anxiety and have relaxing effects
Exposure therapy: VR simulators can recreate frightening or traumatic environments and situations to help patients accept emotions and face fears

In 5 years, the value of VR in medicine and healthcare will grow over 30X
2017: $8.9 million
2022: $285 million

3D Printing

New printers can create medical tools using any buildable material, from plastic to stem cells:
Artificial bones for surgical reconstruction
Custom-tailored prosthetics, ventilated scoliosis braces, supports for amputees
Tiny organs, or “organoids,” made of layered stem cells that can grow inside the body of a patient and take over when an old organ fails
The “Polypill:” A 3D-printed pill being developed for patients with multiple illnesses that can hold several drugs at once, each with different release times

2010-2016, the number of U.S. hospitals with a 3D printing facility grew by 3200%
2010: 3 hospitals
2016: 99 hospitals

Robot-Assisted Surgery

Most commonly used system: Camera and mechanical arms with attached surgical tools are controlled by a surgeon through a nearby computer, where he or she sees an HD, magnified view of the surgical site

More precise and controlled
Minimally invasive
Less risk of complications such as infection
Less pain and blood loss
Quicker recovery
Less noticeable scars

Attitudes toward robot-assisted surgery:
Would you choose robot-assisted surgery?
Before learning about the benefits: 36%
After learning about the benefits: 56%
18 to 34-year-olds are almost 2X as likely as 45 to 64-year-olds to prefer robot-assisted surgery to traditional surgery

Technology is revolutionizing medicine from the patient’s home to the operating room一do you know the tools of the trade?

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