In recent years, medicine has become a sphere of amazing discoveries. The past years have shown that innovations have firmly entered our lives. The development and implementation of modern technologies have affected many areas, from oncology and surgery to the rapid growth of vaccines against COVID-19. It may soon change the industry beyond recognition.
MedTech has to save lives or improve its quality. Modern medical technologies make it possible to diagnose, control and treat diseases.
The surge in MedTech is driven by technological advances and consumer-facing opportunities, as a new generation of innovation in MedTech puts more emphasis on quick access to healthcare worldwide.
The MedTech industry helps with early diagnosing. Wearables, sensory and implantable technologies, and applications created with the help of big data make it possible.
MedTech enables monitoring patients remotely and helps them adhere to their medication regime without visiting the hospital, keep themselves on a diet and watch their vital signs.
Information technologies in medicine and health care help to solve the following tasks:
Information technology in medicine makes it possible to conduct high-quality monitoring of the condition of patients. Maintaining electronic medical records reduces the time spent by clinic staff on the preparation of various forms. All information about the patient is presented in one document available to the institution’s medical staff. All examinations and results of procedures are also entered directly into the electronic medical record. It enables other specialists to assess the prescribed treatment’s quality to detect diagnostic inaccuracies.
IT in medicine allows doctors to conduct online consultations at any convenient time. It increases the availability of medical services. People can get a qualified help from experienced doctors remotely. It is especially true for people:
Thus, patients or doctors do not need to travel long distances to receive a consultation. With the help of modern information technologies, a doctor can assess the patient’s condition and get acquainted with all the results of the examinations.
Such consultations are necessary for patients with physiological problems and those who need psychiatric or psychological help. Audiovisual communication enables the doctor to establish contact with the patient and provide him with the necessary support.
In modern society, information technologies penetrate deeply into people’s lives. They quickly became a vital stimulus for the development of not only the world economy but also other spheres of human activity. Now it is challenging to find an area that doesn’t use information technology.
Physicians use computers for many critical applications. Computer equipment is widely used in diagnosis, examinations, and preventive examinations. Examples of computer devices and methods of treatment and diagnostics:
Computer networks are used to send messages about organ donors needed by patients awaiting transplantation.
Banks of medical data allow physicians to keep abreast of the latest scientific and practical developments in MedTech consulting.
Computer technology is used to train medical workers in practical skills. This time, the computer acts as a patient who needs immediate help. Based on the symptoms generated by the computer, the student must determine the course of treatment. The computer immediately shows all mistakes.
To sum it up:
Today, hundreds of MedTech companies are successfully operating in the world. The capitalization of the largest companies amounts to tens of billions of dollars, and the number of employees to tens of thousands. The TOP-15 largest MedTech companies in 2022 are:
Some innovations, like bionic eyes, brain implants, and others, could change healthcare.
For example, researchers at the University of Minnesota have 3D printed multiple light receptors onto a hemispherical surface. This technology of functioning bionic eyes could help in the future blind people see and the visually impaired see better.
BIOLIFE4D has demonstrated that it is capable of 3D printing a mini heart. 3D printing could make prosthetics more accessible to people around the world.
A team of researchers recently unveiled a new biosensor contact lens that can detect glucose levels in diabetic patients. The research team says these medical or smart lenses can control glucose levels from tears in the eye. The lenses contain built-in flexible, transparent electronics, which means they don’t get in the way of users.
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are already promising in various medical fields. It is already being used as training for physicians, helping them simulate real-life situations.
VR is also showing great potential as a form of treatment. Last year, a study showed that it could be a surprisingly effective pain relief. It can also help people overcome phobias and treat disorders such as PTSD through contact therapy.
Telemedicine is one of the fastest-growing healthcare services in the world. It is based on providing consultations, diagnostics, prevention, and treatment with the help of computer and telecommunication technologies. In other words, it is medicine “at a distance.” Mobile medicine, or m-Health, is a set of healthcare activities, programs, and services connected to smartphones, tablets, and other wireless devices.
These technologies are not new. However, the coronavirus gave a powerful impetus to developing telemedicine and mobile medicine. People in acute quarantine and self-isolation at home needed timely and adequate medical care. And if in 2016, only 11.2% of US doctors worked in areas where telemedicine is used, then two months after the coronavirus, only 9% of attending physicians in America worked in the regions that do not use telemedicine.
American MedTech companies Amwell and Teladoc have long been known. The first one is based on teleconferences of patients with doctors via secure communication channels. The second uses videoconferencing and phone calls. However, the US is still the leader in the global telemedicine market. The sphere itself will continue to grow in the post-pandemic period. According to Fortune Business Insight, its CAGR will be 23.5%, and the global telemedicine market will reach $185.66 billion by 2026.
Mobile medicine has also come to the forefront during the global coronavirus pandemic. It is based on the use of a mobile application on a smartphone and a wearable device that helps track a person’s health data or carry out self-monitoring of well-being. In the future, a person can observe the dynamics of each specific indicator by undergoing regular medical examinations. The app also provides nutritional advice.
The use of robots in medical practice is not only effective but also safe in the era of COVID-19. Today, robotic technology is used in surgery and support systems for healthcare workers and patients. For example, robots can clean up and prepare the ward for receiving a patient, bypass direct contact with him, find the necessary medicine faster, help move heavy equipment, etc.
The pandemic has given a powerful impetus to the development of innovation. Robots have already been announced or are operating that take swabs from the nose or mouth to determine the coronavirus, disinfect rooms, perform general health diagnostics, and even deliver food to infected patients. The rapid development of technology allows using robots to carry out therapy and surgical operations. The da Vinci robotic-assisted surgical system is one of the brightest and most famous examples. The range of procedures this robot can perform is pervasive: from gastric bypass surgery to the removal of a vertebral hernia.
A relatively new development is the micro-robot for targeted therapy. It is an encouraging kind of robot. It locally delivers medicinal substances directly to the “sick” area of the body using mechanized particles. Exciting are their mechanisms for hitting the “target,” among which are micro-bots with tiny spiral “tails.” They are guided by magnetic fields, scroll forward through the blood vessels, and gently move toward the tumor.
Today, the medical community expects favorable results from relatively new therapies such as immunotherapy and targeted therapy in treating cancer. The main problem in cancer treatment is cancer cells’ ability to “mask” as healthy human cells. As a result, it is difficult for the immune system to attack them. The point of immunotherapy is to “teach” the immune system to recognize and attack tumor cells with the help of medications. In cases of targeted therapy, the growth and spread of cancer cells are blocked due to the effect solely on the cancer cell itself. Since the drugs have a targeted outcome, this therapy has the fewest side effects for the body. Of course, the appearance on the market such medicines is in demand both from doctors and patients.
A chemically modified bacteriophage is used as a delivery vehicle. Thallium is placed in a bacteriophage, after which it is delivered to the cancer cell and released in phagocytosis. Thallium salts do not cause resistance, and their toxic effect occurs only on “sick” cells. Thus, the drug activates the process of their death, blocks further tumor growth, and stops the spread of metastases.
Today we have many tools and data that were not available before. The use of technologies based on big data arrays allows not only to provide medical care to patients and maintain their health quickly but also to save medical costs, introduce innovative developments, apply more personalized approaches to treatment, etc.
The 5G system is also designed to provide a minimum delay in information transmission. For example, in 2019, Huawei and China Mobile enabled a hospital in China to perform the world’s first remote brain surgery. The operating surgeon was in Hainan, and the patient was in Beijing. The doctor controlled surgical instruments using a video conferencing terminal, which broadcast the operation online via a 5G connection.
Today, neural networks are used everywhere. Medicine is no exception. Artificial intelligence can both recognize diseases based on the collection of data about the patient and his medical history and quickly create medicines. AI-based medical solutions are prevalent all over the world.
For example, the American FDNA creates phenotyping technologies based on artificial intelligence. The system recognizes patients’ faces and, with incredible accuracy, can identify more than eight thousand diseases and rare genetic disorders. And specialists from the biotech company Insilico Medicine have developed a cure for lung disease with the help of AI.
The development of Artificial Intelligence in Medical Epidemiology (AIME) can predict the occurrence of episodes of dengue fever with an accuracy of up to three months and determine their geolocation with an accuracy of 400 meters.
VR and AR technologies are actively used in surgery, ophthalmology, psychology, and psychiatry, and they also help in future doctors’ education and nursing. Augmented reality innovations in diagnostics are possible thanks to special Microsoft Hololens AR glasses. The doctor puts them on and sees a 3D human body reconstruction, effectively having X-ray vision. The 3D model and special software display the necessary diagnostic information, and the doctor examines the patient in real-time.
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