Technological Advancements in Medicine and Global Healthcare
Global health comprises the biological and clinical facets of diseases along with the social, economic, political, and environmental determinants of health. The ability to confine health issues inside national borders has diminished as the globe becomes more linked.
The contribution of technology to the medical sector is unparalleled. With the years passing by technology is improving at the highest pace in the medicine sector. Nowadays, the use of AI, and the development of new therapies, drugs, drug development, and surgical procedures, have made complex medical procedures less complex and paved a path to minimally invasive surgeries. Millions of individuals throughout the world are having their lives improved as a result of these developments.
Global health has improved recently despite several obstacles like poverty, pandemics, disease outbreaks, conflicts, and climate change. Maternal and child fatalities have dropped significantly and since the development of new vaccinations, infectious illness spread has also been reduced. Governments and organisations have also boosted their funding for global health concerns and also significantly invested in newer technologies. The current developments in the healthcare industry are beneficial to global health and are an area with significant potential to enhance the health of people all over the world and in the medical field. We can improve the health of people all across the world by addressing the issues and embracing the possibilities.
Medical students and professionals must keep themselves updated and knowledgeable about the recent advancements in healthcare as it is going to impact their career growth to a great extent. To escalate the growth of your medical career, it is mandated to upskill.
The recent advancements in the global healthcare and medicine field are significant for several reasons. By offering more precise diagnoses, earlier illness detection, and more individualised treatment regimens, they have the potential to:
- Improve the quality of care for patients.
- By enabling remote monitoring and care and minimising the need for in-person visits, healthcare may be made more accessible and cheaper.
- Increase the effectiveness of healthcare delivery by simplifying administrative procedures and facilitating information exchange between healthcare professionals.
- Develop novel therapies and preventative measures to lessen the impact of chronic illnesses.
- Boost public health by keeping track of and rapidly and efficiently addressing illness outbreaks.
Below mentioned are technological advancements in medicine and global healthcare:
Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare
With the introduction of unprecedented tools for patient care, treatment, and diagnosis, artificial intelligence (AI) is drastically changing the healthcare industry.
For researchers interested in global health, AI-driven health interventions fall into four categories: diagnosis, patient morbidity or mortality risk assessment, disease outbreak prediction and surveillance, and health policy and planning. Machine learning, signal processing, data mining, natural language processing, and other forms of AI are applied in the healthcare sector.
Here are a few current applications of AI in healthcare:
- Diagnosis and treatment: Artificial intelligence (AI) paves the way for the screening of disease and can analyse medical images like X-rays and scans to identify illnesses early and more accurately than humans. AI may be used to create individualised treatment regimens for individuals based on their unique traits and requirements. Other applications of artificial intelligence being used in medicine include Digital chest radiographs, cervical cancer screening, estimating perinatal risk factors, and characterising and predicting the global spread of the Zika virus.
- Drug discovery: Artificial intelligence (AI) may be used to search through extensive databases of chemicals and compounds to find possible new medicines. AI may also be used to foresee how pharmaceuticals would react in the body, lowering the possibility of adverse effects.
- Personalised medicine: Artificial intelligence (AI) may be used to examine a patient’s genetic information, medical history, and lifestyle choices in order to develop a personalised treatment plan that has the highest chance of success.
- Risk assessment: AI may be used to predict the risk of disease and figure out how likely a patient is to have cancer or heart disease. Patients can utilise this knowledge to guide lifestyle adjustments that will lower their risk.
- Healthcare administration: AI may be used to automate processes like appointment scheduling, patient record management, and claim processing. This might free up medical personnel to concentrate on treating patients.
- Telemedicine: Platforms that employ AI in telemedicine can be used to offer doctor consultations via the Internet. Patients with limited access to healthcare in remote locations may particularly benefit from this.
- Robotics: Surgery, pharmaceutical dispensing, and other medical services can be carried out by AI-powered robots. This might aid in enhancing the effectiveness and precision of healthcare delivery.
- Big data analytics: Using AI, enormous databases of healthcare data may be analysed to spot trends and patterns. The diagnosis and treatment of illnesses can be made better with the use of this knowledge.
- Virtual assistants: AI-driven virtual assistants may be used to set up appointments, answer patients’ inquiries, and offer information about their conditions. The patient experience may be enhanced as a result of this.
The future of AI in healthcare is very promising. The use of AI in healthcare is still in its early stages, but it has the potential to revolutionize the way we diagnose, treat, and manage diseases. In the years to come, as AI technology advances, it is anticipated to have a more significant influence on the healthcare industry.
Advances in Gene Editing Technology
The science of gene editing is expanding quickly. The way we treat illnesses is changing as a result of gene editing tools like CRISPR-Cas9. These technologies can be used to fix genetic flaws that lead to disease or to add new genes that can offer disease protection.
The following are some of the developments in gene editing technologies that are being investigated for medical applications:
- CRISPR-Cas9: A protein called Cas9 is used by CRISPR-Cas9 to cut DNA at a precise spot. This enables precise gene replacement, deletion, and insertion. The most popular gene editing technology, CRISPR-Cas9, is being researched for a number of uses, including the treatment of HIV, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, and hereditary illnesses.
For instance, in cancer patients, CRISPR-Cas9 is being utilised to create novel cancer medicines that can target and eliminate cancer cells. CAR T-cell treatments, a sort of immunotherapy that employs a patient’s immune cells to combat cancer, are being developed by researchers utilising CRISPR-Cas9.
- Base editing: A more recent gene editing technique, base editing allows you to alter specific DNA nucleotides without actually cutting the DNA. Compared to CRISPR-Cas9, this makes it less likely to result in unwanted side effects. For the therapy of conditions including cystic fibrosis and Duchenne muscular dystrophy, base editing is being researched.
- RNA editing: An approach to gene editing that can target RNA molecules rather than DNA. This can be utilised to treat conditions like certain cancers that are brought on by RNA alterations.
- Gene therapy: Gene therapy is a treatment that involves introducing genes into cells to correct a genetic defect. Numerous illnesses, including cancer, HIV, and hereditary ailments, have been treated by gene therapy.
These are only a handful of the gene editing innovations that are being investigated for medical applications. Technology’s continued advancement will probably have a significant influence on how we manage diseases in the years to come.
Development of Precision Medicine
A person’s unique genetic makeup, lifestyle, and environment are all taken into consideration when developing a medical treatment plan in precision/personalised medicine. This may result in a more effective and targeted treatment with fewer adverse effects.
Personalising medicine may be done in a variety of ways. Typical strategies include:
- Genetic testing includes examining a person’s DNA to see if there are any mutations or variances that might impact their likelihood of contracting a certain disease or their reaction to a particular medication.
- Biomarkers are quantifiable indications of a biological condition or state. Biomarkers can be used to monitor a patient’s response to therapy or to spot those who are most likely to catch a particular disease.
- Environmental factors, such as pollutant exposure, food, and exercise impact how people respond to therapy as well as the development of many diseases.
Precision medicine is becoming more and more feasible as we understand more about the human genome and the part genetics plays in disease. We can create more effective and focused therapies that may result in improvement by taking into consideration a person’s particular demands.
Here are some examples of current applications of precision medicine:
- High-risk cancer patients are identified via genetic testing, and targeted medicines are created that are more efficient for those who have certain genetic alterations.
- Biomarkers are being utilised to monitor an individual’s risk of developing heart disease and to pinpoint those who will benefit from certain therapies the most.
- Scientists are examining the genetic component of Alzheimer’s disease and creating targeted treatments that might be more efficient for those who carry particular genetic abnormalities.
Some of the challenges and limitations of precision medicine include cost, accuracy, accessibility, and regulation.
Personalised medicine is a promising subject with the potential to enhance millions of people’s lives despite these difficulties. It is anticipated to become more accessible, inexpensive, and accurate as technology advances.
Development of Telemedicine and Remote Healthcare
Telemedicine and remote healthcare allow patients to receive care from a doctor or other healthcare provider without having to travel to a doctor’s office or hospital. This can help with healthcare access, particularly in remote locations. The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred telemedicine and remote healthcare development to a great extent. These services are increasingly enticing to patients and providers alike because of the requirement to maintain social distance and avoid in-person visits to healthcare institutions. There are several advantages to telemedicine and remote medical care, such as better access to healthcare, lower healthcare expenses, increased patient satisfaction, and better patient results.
Remote healthcare services and telemedicine come in a wide variety. The most popular ones are Tele-education, remote patient monitoring, and virtual doctor appointments.
Additionally, there are several drawbacks to telemedicine and remote treatment, such as security and privacy issues, a lack of financing, technical issues, and a shortage of skilled providers.
Despite these impediments, telemedicine and remote healthcare are expanding quickly and playing a bigger role in the healthcare system. These services are expected to become progressively more common and available as technology advances.
Here are some of the future trends in telemedicine and remote healthcare:
- Increasing the use of artificial intelligence (AI): AI may be applied to personalise treatment regimens, increase the precision of diagnoses, and keep track of patient’s health.
- Development of novel telehealth technology: More thorough and individualised treatment will be feasible thanks to new gadgets like wearable sensors and virtual reality headsets.
- Expansion into new areas: Telemedicine and remote healthcare will be utilised to deliver care in new areas, such as managing chronic diseases and mental health.
Application of 3D Printing in Healthcare
3D printing in medicine is being used to create customised medical items including prostheses, implants, and surgical guides. This innovation might save expenditures while raising the standard of treatment. A rapidly developing technology, 3D printing has a wide range of potential uses in the healthcare sector. Among the most widespread applications of 3D printing in the medical field, some are mentioned below:
- Producing patient-specific medical devices: 3D printing may be used to produce personalised medical items like implants, prostheses, and surgical guides that are tailored to the anatomy of a single patient. In addition to lowering the risk of problems, this can enhance the device’s fit and functionality.
- Building medical models and educating healthcare professionals: 3D printing may be used to build accurate representations of the human body’s organs, tissues, and tumours. These models can be used to aid in the planning and execution of intricate treatments as well as the education of patients about their conditions. This can assist them in picking up new abilities and methods, as well as in practising approaches in a secure setting.
- Creating novel medications and treatments: Tissue scaffolds for cell culture and intricate drug delivery systems may be made using 3D printing. This can aid in the development of novel treatments and medications by researchers for a number of disorders.
- Customising care: Using 3D printing, it is possible to develop treatments and drugs that are specifically suited to the requirements of a certain patient. This might increase the therapy’s efficacy and security.
Here are some specific examples of how 3D printing is being used in healthcare today:
- A company named Materialise has created a 3D-printed breast implant that is specifically designed for women with tuberous breasts. This type of breast deformity is often difficult to treat with traditional implants, but the 3D-printed implant can provide a more natural and comfortable fit.
- A team of researchers at the University of California, San Diego has developed a 3D-printed surgical guide that can be used to remove brain tumors with greater precision and accuracy.
- A company named Organovo has developed a 3D printer that can be used to create human tissue. This tissue can be used to study diseases, develop new drugs, and create personalized medical implants.
These are some of the numerous uses for 3D printing that are now being made in the medical field. As technology advances, it will probably have a bigger influence on the healthcare sector, enhancing the standard of treatment and enhancing accessibility for all.
The use of blockchain technology to increase the security and effectiveness of healthcare data exchange is one of the significant developments being made in the world of healthcare. Smart technologies, particularly wearable sensors, are being developed to extract therapeutically significant health-related data from physical (body) indicators like heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, respiration rate, and body motion. The technology has now also come up with immersive virtual and augmented reality training and education in the medical field.
Advancements in technology, increased investment in global health, partnerships, collaborations among the government, organizations, and individuals, and innovations altogether make a significant contribution to addressing the challenges to global health and improving health outcomes. The rapid pace of technical improvement has made these developments feasible. These technologies will have a bigger influence on global healthcare as they advance.