Like other industries, technology in medicine has advanced through the years and this has led to the increase in growth of the medical industry. The advancement of technology in medicine has made it possible and easier for medical specialists to diagnose and treat patients at a quicker and more efficient rate.
A range of improved technology in medicine has been employed for the betterment of the field such as nanotechnology, robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), etc. Here we’ll be discussing the advancement of these different technologies in medicine.
Emerging technology in medicine
Nanotechnology has been employed in nanoparticles and nanobots for drug delivery and treatment in medicine. Nanobots are applied to detect diseases in blood vessels and nanoparticles have been used to deliver toxic drugs to specific target cells. Some years ago, MIT researchers invented an electronic pill which could be controlled wirelessly. It could relay diagnostic information from the patient and release the drug swiftly following the command of a smartphone. More testing is still required to ensure the safety of this drug technology but it’s undeniable that this will be of great evolution in medicine.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology in medicine has been useful in the diagnosis of diseases and also the provision of predictive tailored treatments. This has helped to reduce the time physicians have to spend with patients except for the provision of supplementary information, monitoring and ensuring accuracy. The provision of chatbots for patient interaction is also an example of artificial intelligence technology in medicine. These chatbots can answer questions patients have about symptoms and medications.
Robotics surgery and exoskeleton have been a huge development in the medical industry, from surgical robots to disinfectant robots and pharmabotics. Its safe and efficient procedures have made it easier for surgical operations to be performed with ease and precision. Robotic surgery reduces human error in surgeries, gives a wider range of motion to the surgeon and also speeds up the patient’s recovery time.
The first exoskeleton-driven surgery in Europe was done in 2019 on a tetraplegic (paralyzed on all four limbs) who had the capability of controlling exoskeletons with his brain.
Virtual reality and Augmented reality
Virtual reality and Augmented reality have been integrated into medicine through various applications. It can be used to train medical students on surgical operations, making it seem like they were performing the surgical procedure without the risk of harming an actual patient. A study also shows that VR-trained surgeons performed 230% better than traditionally trained surgeons with more accuracy and speed.
Virtual and augmented reality technology in medicine has also helped patients in the management of pain like the visualizing of soothing landscapes to divert them from the painful stimuli and improve their overall hospital experience.
Telemedicine has advanced in the medical field since the COVID-19 pandemic due to restrictions on public travel and physical contact between physicians and patients. Using this technology in medicine, patients are attended to by clinical practitioners virtually while avoiding any form of physical contact and still getting diagnosed and treated for their illnesses. This technology saves time and money for both the patient and the practitioner.
3D printing technology in medicine has been able to solve tangible problems in the field that have proved to be unsolvable. 3D printing has been applied to build body parts and equipment such as implants, tissues, bionic prostheses, blood vessels, artificial veins, customized surgical instruments, airway stents, pills, etc. 3D-printed prostheses have been able to replace the body parts of amputees or disabled patients thereby making them live a normal and more comfortable life.
In 2019, researchers invented a method to 3D print living skin with blood vessels. This is advantageous as a skin graft for burn victims.
Benefits of the advancement of technology in medicine
1. Reduction in medical errors which leads to the saving of more lives.
2. Better patient care
3. Improved patient education
4. Reduction in cost
5. Easier access to patient medical records due to the digitalization of files and storage on the cloud
Disadvantages of advancement of technology in medicine
1. Problem of miscommunication
2. Breach of patient’s private medical information
3. Patients interact with technology rather than live practitioners.