Medical technology has revolutionized healthcare in very many ways. It has improved patient outcomes, increased access to healthcare, and reduced costs. Many medical engineers and technologists break new ground in the industry in the quest to innovate. The following are some of the most significant disruptions that have transformed healthcare:
Most Significant Disruptions that Have Transformed Healthcare:
1. The Development of Vaccines
Vaccines are a great way to prevent diseases. In the early 20th century, scientists discovered that vaccination against various diseases could be achieved by injecting a fatal dose of smallpox and other harmful infections into the body.
2. The Development of Medical Imaging Technologies such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs
These include X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. The machines allow doctors to observe internal organs in three dimensions and detect abnormalities that could not get seen before due to limited access. They also help doctors develop better treatment plans for their patients by allowing them to evaluate the extent of the damage.
3. The Development of Intensive Care Units
These units were designed to provide intensive care and resuscitation for critically ill patients. In the past, losing patients who had undergone surgeries was not uncommon because the environment was not conducive to healing. These modern units are very clean and have medications and machines that provide patients with oxygen, food, and wound care.
4. The Development of Antiseptics and Antibiotics
Antiseptic drugs such as carbolic acid were discovered by accident when doctors noticed that the number of germs decreased after they used them to clean their hands before surgery. Antibiotics have been crucial in preventing and treating infections.
5. The Development of Blood-Transfusion Methods and Technologies
This development has enabled doctors to save more patients who have lost blood in accidents, surgery, and childbirth. Blood transfusions have also saved a lot of people with cancer and other blood-related conditions by replacing their blood with healthy blood.
6. The Development of Artificial limbs, Prostheses, and Implants
These help people overcome physical limitations or injuries, making them more independent at home and work. Prosthetic limbs have been essential in helping the disabled lead a more active life. Implantable electronic devices are vital in helping patients manage chronic conditions through biomedical technology.
Digital technology has transformed patient communication in various ways. Here are a few ways:
1. Online Access to Health Information
Patients can stay abreast of their health status and access available healthcare information, such as statistics and study findings, directly from the internet. This access has also helped people have an almost real-time understanding of their illness or injury.
2. Remote Monitoring of Patient’s Health
Visiting healthcare facilities and hearing from doctors has become a thing of the past. Now, patients can receive information about the status of their health condition through a mobile device or PC.
3. Wireless Technology for Patient Monitoring
Patients can use this to monitor the oxygen level in their blood and cardiac rhythm, significantly reducing the irregular heartbeats they experience during anesthesia and surgery.
This disruption brings about some challenges and opportunities, which include:
- The continuous improvement in medical technology has increased the cost of healthcare.
- The increasing focus on patient outcomes has raised concerns over certain procedures’ safety, contributing to reduced satisfaction with healthcare services.
- Physicians have become overly reliant on technology and may spend too much time on it rather than with patients, leading to high staff turnover rates, lower patient satisfaction, and reduced efficiency.
Some breakthrough digital technologies have revolutionized healthcare, and they include:
1. The Introduction of 3D Printing
3D printing has transformed healthcare by allowing doctors to prototype complex medical devices in hours. It has also helped patients to have 3D-printed prosthetic limbs or organs that they can use to restore or alter their physical capabilities.
2. The Development of Robotic Surgery
Robotic surgery allows surgeons to conduct precise, delicate operations that would have been impossible for human surgeons.
3. The Use of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence has helped medical professionals collect information from patients’ records, which can be stored and accessed anywhere through smartphones or other devices. It also helps improve the quality of care for patients by providing better treatment options with the help of AI technology. Also increasing patient engagement with tools like healthcare chatbots, which you can see a wide variety of these at QliqSoft.
4. The Discovery and Invention of Electronic Health Records
EHRs have significantly increased the efficiency of healthcare systems by creating a single source of patient records in hospitals and other healthcare institutions. It also enables physicians to analyze patient data quickly, which reduces the time for diagnosis and treatment.
5. The Development of Telemedicine
The ability to receive instant advice from specialists via a video call or chat allows patients to obtain healthcare remotely.
6. Wearable Devices
The increasing prevalence of smart wearable devices has allowed patients to monitor their health conditions independently through mobile applications. These devices provide information on vital signs and other health indicators, enabling early prevention, detection, or intervention.
Failures and Setbacks
Despite the significant accomplishments in the healthcare sector, unexpected failures and setbacks have had a substantial impact on the industry. They include:
1. The COVID 19 Pandemic
The Pandemic resulted in the deaths of millions of people worldwide. It also caused the shutdown of several manufacturing facilities and the slowdown in their operations. The healthcare system was overwhelmed.
2. The Opioid Crisis
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 64,000 people died from opioid drug abuse in 2016. The crisis has greatly impacted families and healthcare systems across the country. The crisis has also contributed to a rise in insurance premiums and healthcare costs.
3. The Abandonment of Theranos’ Blood-Testing Services
The scandal resulted from the controversy surrounding Theranos’s inaccurate blood-testing services, which closed the company’s laboratory and patient services.
These failures and setbacks emphasized the need for serious testing of medical technologies before they are released to the public for use to ensure public safety. There should also be transparency and accountability in developing major healthcare technology.
Impact on Patients, Providers, and the Industry
These upsets have affected patients, providers, and the healthcare industry as a whole in the following ways:
- These upsets have caused many patients’ deaths, illnesses, and addictions.
- The providers have had to suffer more scrutiny and tight regulations.
- These upsets have reduced public trust in the healthcare industry and have damaged the sector’s reputation.
As a result of the impacts of the failures in the healthcare industry, ethical and social concerns have arisen, and they include:
The COVID-19 Pandemic exposed the inadequacy of the healthcare industry and the need to invest in healthcare infrastructure and ensure equitable access to healthcare.
The Opioid Crisis led to the question of the role of pharmaceuticals in causing addiction.
The Theranos scandal highlighted the need to prioritize public safety and the ethical responsibility of healthcare companies.
In conclusion, the healthcare industry has achieved significant milestones over the years. However, on the other hand, the industry has suffered detrimental failures and setbacks. It is, therefore, essential to undertake thorough assessments before releasing new and advanced technologies. The healthcare industry must also strive to maintain and improve public trust, which the failures and setbacks have damaged significantly.