Many of the breakthroughs in the healthcare sector in the recent past have been driven by technology. The merger of medicine and technology has facilitated faster and more accurate patient monitoring and diagnosis. This has made treatment more accessible and has also lowered healthcare costs. Continuous technological advancements in the medical space have saved lives and improved the overall quality of life.
Depth & Breadth of Medical Technology Sector
This domain is vast, spanning areas as diverse as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, healthcare IT, and medical devices and equipment. It encompasses objects found at homes, such as hearing aids, pregnancy tests, and spectacles, to those found in hospitals, where the technologies can range from adhesive bandages to more complex devices and equipment, including:
- Diagnostic equipment like CT scanners, ultrasound mechanisms, and MRI machines
- Treatment equipment like Lasik surgery machines, infusion pumps, and medical lasers
- Medical devices like heart valves and pacemakers
- Life support equipment like incubators, ventilators, ECMO, and dialysis machines
Recent advancements have seen artificial organs, robotic surgery, and prosthetic limbs come into more widespread use.
The Two Most Promising Areas in Medical Technology
The art of 3D printing is already being used to develop prosthetics, casts, and implants at a much lower cost. Researchers are focusing on using this technology to create blood vessels and organs that can mimic human tissues. Additionally, there has been a lot of reporting about the potential of 3D printing for making prototypes of medical devices and sophisticated biological material.
Rapid advancements have also been made in mobile health technology (or mHealth). The availability of mobile EHRs and increased adoption of medical sensors, mobile patient monitoring devices, and other wearables, have increased life expectancy and reduced healthcare costs.
Research dollars are also being invested in precision medicine, which enables doctors to personalize therapies and treatment based on a person’s genetic makeup.