When we talk about all of the advancements being made in technology these days, we tend to focus on the personal benefits of those developments. We talk about the iWatch. We talk about smart phones and being able to stream Netflix directly into our brains (okay, that’s not actually available yet). We talk about how everyday life is starting to resemble Star Trek and, in terms of personal computing, Minority Report.
Personal tech and apps, though, are just some of the fantastic and fascinating developments that are happening in technology. The Blind Map, for example, is a piece of technology that has far reaching benefits. Medicine and Medical equipment are also benefiting from technological advancements. Here are just a few of the ways tech has been improving and advancing the health industry.
Do you remember the super computer that beat out Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter a couple of years ago? IBM has continued working on “him” and developing him into a doctor’s best friend. Dr. Watson, eventually, could be used to help doctors more accurately diagnose their patients. The idea is that Watson–because of his lack of human needs like sleep and food and, to put it bluntly, empathy–will be able to keep up with scientific advancements, new developments in patient treatment, care and diagnosis and use up to the minute information to figure out what’s wrong with a patient as well as how best to treat him or her. Watson is still in “beta stage” and will never be able to compete in bedside manner, but if successful, patients will be able to be more accurately and quickly diagnosed than they’ve ever been.
Breast cancer is one of the most common and–if caught early enough–treatable cancers. The problem is that, because breasts are also prone to cysts and the fluid buildups, many patients and even doctors can sometimes mistake a tumor for something completely benign. Often this misdiagnosis is coupled with a doctor and patient’s desire to avoid mammograms and slow and painful biopsies…not to mention the fact that the wait time from “this might be cancer” to getting a definitive diagnosis can be quite large because of the backlog of testing that needs to be accomplished. DeviceLab has been working to solve this problem and one of the solutions they’ve come up with is a more efficient (aka faster) breast biopsy machine. Clients who have used the newer machine have seen a marked improvement in testing time and patient care.
A Bionic Eye
In keeping with the aforementioned maps for the blind, this is probably a good time to talk about the newly developed bionic eye. Highlighted by The Smithsonian, the new bionic eye is not actually an eye and, as of yet, it cannot perfectly replicate sight the way an eye does. Still, for patients who suffer from retinitis pigmentosa, it could be the next best thing. Developed by Second Sight, the bionic eye is actually a small camera that is placed on a patient’s glasses. It records what it “sees” and transmits that data via electrical pulses that are delivered wirelessly to a retinal implant. Patients will be able to “see” basic objects and might even be able to tell colors apart. That’s pretty cool.
Electronic Health Records
While not new–electronic health records have been used for years–advancements have been made in creating a universal records system to allow patients to transfer between doctors without having to feel like they are “starting all over” because a new doctor lacks access to previous records. These records are synced up with pharmacies and readily available to patients who don’t want to have to wait for a doctor to have time to call them with test results or call in a prescription to a specific pharmacy. Changes are happening every day to improve security while also improving doctor-patient access.
The point is that technology is making advancements everywhere, not just in how many games of Threes you can play before your smart phone’s battery runs out.
Featured image credit: doctor hand working with modern computer /ShutterStock