Technology is increasingly disrupting also in the medicine field. The future of health is in the hands of information technology thanks to which, experts say, it will be easier to be cured.
The paradigms of the relationship between the health system and personal care change. This is explained by Jeroen Tas, Chief Innovation and Strategy Officer of Royal Philips: “The United States spends about 7.6 trillion dollars on health care and of this enormous amount waste represents about 30 – 40%. Healthcare is therefore a sector in which there are great opportunities to have better results […]. Many of the treatments that are performed in the hospital could be served elsewhere, the majority of the people who go to a hospital do not really need to go there “.
Thanks to systems such as Image grade therapy, used by Philips, the doctor has the opportunity to observe the patient remotely and assess whether an operation is necessary or not. Telemedicine has effectively entered the daily scenario.
“Who has a tumour – continues Tas – undergoes various types of tests, which together can quantify the tumour itself and evaluate its aggressiveness, so as to select the most appropriate therapy. But to reach this point the telematic comparison between information crossover is fundamental, another sector in which telemedicine can play a key role and that of immunotherapy, or the programming of cells in order to attack other diseased cells, or that of neurological diseases “.
Telemedicine in general helps to understand certain risks and deal with them before they even occur.
TELEMEDICINE: NEW TECHNOLOGIES
New technologies also bring important news in the medical field, not only with reference to big data management but also with regard to the possibility of benefiting from the advantages of artificial intelligence and augmented reality.
The lengthening of the average life span is also due to the innumerable scientific and technological discoveries, which enabled the adoption of innovative and ever-more reliable tools in operating theatres.
When we hear about technological innovation, we immediately think about the devices we use every day: tablets, computers, iPhones … Instead, innovation consists in bringing technology to areas not traditionally connected to the digital world. The research progressed in the electronic, robotic and technological fields, with the aim of creating equipment that can help medicine. For example, Da Vinci robots, organs or limbs made with 3D printers, robotic neurorehabilitation or sophisticated artificial limbs through which it is possible to recover even the tactile function. But also, devices that monitor vital parameters and communicate them in real time, state-of-the-art diagnostics with Spet. The examples could continue indefinitely!
Nowadays technology is used every day also in the medical field, both in operating theatres and diagnostic centres, both in therapy and in rehabilitation. Technology is revolutionising not only our lifestyles, but also the world of medicine and surgery.
GOOGLE, MICROSOFT AND AMAZON IN THE HEALTH SECTOR
In 2016, Google and the French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi announced a $ 500 million investment in a joint venture to develop treatments for people with diabetes. These are special contact lenses equipped with sensors to detect blood sugar levels.
Amazon is also entering the sector through artificial intelligence (AI). In the United States, the use of Alexa, the Amazon’s voice recognition system, is being tested as an aid to surgeons in operating theatres.
On the other hand, with reference to augmented reality, the Hololens, Microsoft’s viewers, enter into the US operating rooms, considered a valid and above all economic alternative to traditional medical equipment. These glasses have been tested by orthopaedic surgeons from the Brazilian city of Santa Caterina to perform a spine operation. Using the wearable, spinal surgeons were able to rely on a series of 3D projections of the part to be operated, to understand how to fix the screws on the spine in the better way.
Milan: the smart medicine cart
Technology is also useful in terms of patient safety in the hospital. For example, the S. Raffaele Institute in Milan has activated a device that enables to manage the patient during the administration of a drug or the prescription and preparation phase. It is a “smart cart” that is managed by a computer. Each patient has a bracelet on his/her wrist with a two-dimensional code and this code is read by the computer and on the basis of the information connected to the patient the computer sends a command to the cart, for the opening of the drawers that contain the specific medicines necessary for that certain patient. The verification of the selected medicines also takes place by reading the serial numbers of the medicinal product in question. The electronic system used is called “Drive” and allows to optimise the work of health workers, to monitor the movement of the drug inside the hospital, and to facilitate the procedures for purchasing and reorganising drugs.
THE REVOLUTION OF THE MEDICAL-PATIENT RELATIONSHIP
From a survey conducted by the European Commission, it emerges that 59% of the interviewees use the Internet to carry out research on health issues and ever-more citisens claim to use digital channels to communicate with the general practitioner.
The doctor-patient relationship has been revolutionised by new digital technologies. Each person can, in real time, access data relating to his/her health status, sharing fears and expectations with other patients and discuss any side effects of the drugs.
All this it is possible thanks to the tools made available by e-health. Read more about this topic on our JOurnal.