2016 was a great year for technological advances in medicine, but new medical technology in 2017 aims to be even more amazing
During 2016 we saw the proliferation of several new medical technology advances, such as introduction of low-cost virtual reality, augmented reality, widespread adoption machine-learning for analyzing wearable health data, wider adoption of telemedicine services such as TeleCardiology, and more. These amazing advances and many new medical devices have enabled to improve many medical fields, bringing better, more accessible and cheaper medical care to millions of people around the world. But new medical technology in 2017 looks to be even more amazing.
This year aims to be even more influential, with many new upcoming medical breakthroughs providing better ways to managing various health conditions that were so far believed to be very hard to treat.
Overview of new technologies in healthcare for 2017
1. New health sensors in driverless cars
While the several large tech and automotive companies rushed in 2016 to polish their technologies for the arrival of the fully-autonomous support or cars on open roads (such as Uber’s autonomous car service in Pittsburgh, or Volvo and Uber’s goal of quickly replacing 1 million car drivers with AIs, and several autonomous car driving tests across Europe), health companies have started increasing their presence in automotive industry.
Today, Tesla, Uber, and Volvo are the biggest players in the field of autonomous driving, and they all strive to introduce more and more health sensors into their cars. If their efforts go as planned, their cars could during 2017 become fully featured point-of-care locations that would enable cars not only to monitor vital signs of passengers but also to offer them access to numerous new telehealth and telemedicine services.
2. Digital advances in oncology and immunotherapy
Oncology and Immunotherapy are two medical fields that have seen great advances during 2016 when new forms of digital technology started to transform the way we detect, treat and manage symptoms of cancer. The arrival of personalized oncology has become the reality thanks to the efforts of companies such as SmartPatients and Foundation Medicine, but that represents only the start.
2017 will bring numerous advances and proliferation of the modern techniques such as liquid biopsy, which will enable immunotherapist specialist to start treating cancers not with the strong medications that attack our entire body, but with precise pharma solutions that will focus only on cancerous cells, or that will enable our immune system to finally start actively combating cancer tissue.
3. New forms of diabetes care
2016 was a great year for the advances in the field of diabetes care. FDA for the first time approved the first solution for the creation of artificial pancreas, which was for a long time a dream of medical professionals – a standalone replica of the human organ that automatically regulated levels of glucose in the blood. This groundbreaking technology will probably become even more accessible during 2017.
However, that is not the only solution for ending the troubles of diabetic patients from all around the world that is set to arrive in 2017. For example, a new solution for monitoring glucose levels is coming from Google and Novartis. This cooperation is on the verge of developing a contact lens that can detect glucose levels by sampling the teardrops in our eyes and report findings to the user’s smartphone or smartwatch. If all goes according to plan, this innovative wearable monitoring device will enter its trials during 2017.
4. CRISPR clinical trials for genome editing
Since it appeared on the landscape of modern science, CRISPR and it’s solution for highly precise and low-cost DNA editing has enabled incredible advances in medicine that will save the lives of millions. That is exactly what happened when scientists managed to create malaria-resistant mosquitoes, which have potential to dramatically reduce the death toll of this diseases in Africa and other malaria-infected countries.
Future efforts involving CRISPR are similarly ambitious. Laboratory successes such as treatment of Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy via gene editing or early work on modifying our immune system cells will continue to expand in 2017, enabling modern gene scientists to unlock the hidden potential of our bodies, and potentially open another avenue of fighting deadly diseases such as cardiovascular conditions and cancer.
5. Arrival of Artificial Intelligence in US clinics
As years go by, new clinical trials that big pharma companies attempt become more and more complex, time-consuming, difficult to analyze and come to conclusive results. However, advances in AI technology could aid these future trials, and enable them to cut on spent time and bring the trials to its conclusion in the much more efficient way. Today, companies such as Atomwise already utilize very capable supercomputers to analyze molecular structures.
This approach of adopting AI capabilities in clinical and pharma drug trials could revolutionize medical research capabilities, enable startups to more quickly reach their goals and even potentially be responsible for changing of traditional business models that big companies have adopted a long time ago.
6. Widely-available genetic tests and nutrigenomics advances
2016 saw the proliferation of companies who offer genetic tests to a general audience, which is a field of work that United States FDA commission is still regarded as potentially dangerous and insufficiently regulated. Users from the US can today very easily order genetic test that will give them insight into dozens of their genetic markers, showcasing potential clues about their genetic predispositions. In 2017, these tests will surely become even more advanced, enabling users to gain additional insights that are locked away in their DNA and genes.
Gene testing has also given birth to the new cross-field science that mixes nutrition and genetics – nutrigenomics. Nutrigenomics takes insightful cues detected from DNA sequences to offer users personalized diet recommendations that will enable longer and healthier life. The entire process has been so streamlined, that after genetic tests are completed, the user can today gain insight about most balanced diet (and what foods to avoid!) via their smartphones. While this service has only just become reality in 2016, it will most surely become more widespread in 2017.
7. Digital health plans for conquering space and Mars
While NASA and SpaceX will continue to operate in lower Earth orbit during next several years, there are now concrete plans that will finally enable mankind to travel further from our home and reach our nearest solar neighbor – the red planet Mars. While Elon Musk has promised that he will relatively soon enable brave explorers to achieve that feat, the tremendous advances in transportation industry will most surely need to be followed together with new advances in digital health.
After all, enabling a group of explorers to go and live on a totally different planet, so far away from our large medical organizations, will have to be enhanced with latest and greatest technologies for telehealth and telemedicine. We are sure that during 2017 some of these technologies will start being formed.
8. Surgical robots will become even more capable
With each passing year, the surgical robot industry becomes more and more advanced, enabling surgeons to reach into the patient completely remotely, while increasing their efficiency and capabilities with new sets of precise robotic tools. One example of this technology is da Vinci Surgical System that gives doctor ability to see high-definition 3D view inside the patient and to control a wide array of tools that can create much less damage to surrounding tissue during surgery than traditional surgical instruments.
The new player in this field that will showcase its solutions during 2017 is none other than Google, who has partnered with Johnson & Johnson for the creation of the true competitor for da Vinci Surgical System.
9. Increase of wearable sensors offered by insurance companies
Health insurance industry grows with each passing year, and since various studies are predicting that over 245 million wearable devices will be sold only in the year 2019, it is inevitable that insurance companies will start demanding from their clients to wear various vital sign recording equipment so that they could better evaluate them. Since insurance is a very risky business, they will most surely want to explore every opportunity in researching what are possible health dangers that their clients may face.
Chances are extremely high that insurance companies will start offering insurance packages that will be only accessible if the clients agree to wear wearable sensors and follow guidelines that will be calculated by analyzing wearable health data.
10. Advances in diagnostic medicine with vocal biomarkers
The way we speak does not only hold information that can be detected by our ears but also hidden data that can be perceived only by very accurate equipment. According to modern medical science, certain types of those vocal features (known as “vocal biomarkers”) can be identified to have distinctive characteristics that can point to various states of health, which can be utilized for creation of more accurate diagnosis for conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, depression and many others.
Since early diagnosis can dramatically impact the health outcome of a treatment, scientists are hoping that introduction of reliable vocal biomarker detection could greatly help patients from all around the world. One company (Beyond Verbal) is already working on a platform that can analyze emotions from vocal recordings. We are sure that in 2017 there will be several other advances in this very promising field of medical science.
11. Introduction of more powerful 3D printed solutions
3D printing solutions are becoming more and more capable with each passing year, but in 2016 we saw several advances that helped the treatment status of many health conditions.
In 2017 we believe that 3D printing will become even more widely available, even managing in some markets to become a viable alternative to traditional techniques of healthcare. For example, during 2016 The Spanish 3D printing startup Exovite has presented to the public their solution of 3D imaging patients limbs and creating unique 3D printed casts. Hopefully, during 2017 this innovative technique will become more accepted, and a step that will enable other 3D printed solutions to enter widespread public healthcare solutions.
A Word from Telehealther
Medicine and healthcare industries evolve with incredibly rapid pace, which inevitably means that with each passing year it becomes harder and harder for you to follow all the latest news and developments. This is where Telehealther steps in, enabling you to keep in touch with the world of medicine, disease treatment, and all the latest telehealth and telemedicine solutions that can help you to improve your health status.
Telehealher will continue to monitor for all the latest medical breakthroughs of 2017, making it the one stop for you for all your telemedicine and medical news needs.
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