Technology is revolutionizing healthcare in many ways. From telemedicine to wearables, it’s making it easier for patients to take charge of their health and for doctors to deliver treatment.
For instance, a pregnant woman no longer needs to undergo amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (both invasive procedures) for prenatal testing. Instead, she can use noninvasive blood or urine samples.
From medical robots that aid doctors during surgery to robots that help humans walk again in physical therapy, robotic technology is rapidly advancing and playing a significant role in healthcare today. Streamlined workflows, risk reduction, and increased efficiency enable medical professionals to spend more time directly helping patients.
Surgical robots like the da Vinci Surgical System are commonly used in surgeries, but healthcare robots also work in laboratories to take samples and transport or analyze them. If a patient needs blood drawn, a robotic lab assistant can find the best vein quickly and draw the sample with minimal pain for the patient.
Healthcare robots can also disinfect rooms or wards safely while limiting person-to-person contact. They can even dispense medicine to patients in hospitals, using AI-enabled medicine identifier software. Eventually, these robots may function entirely autonomously and do so on an ongoing basis.
Telehealth refers to healthcare-related activities conducted over telecommunication technologies. It is used to improve patient outcomes and provide more access to care. It can be done remotely or on mobile devices.
The ability to communicate with doctors over a video conference has made it much easier for patients to get the healthcare they need without the hassle of navigating crowded waiting rooms or long phone wait times. This has also led to more efficient medical records, which have been made even better by the use of technology like artificial intelligence and 3D printing.
Robotics have changed the way that surgery is performed, making them more accurate and less invasive than ever before. They can access areas of the body that are hard for humans to reach, allowing for more successful surgeries. They can even replace human hands and tools in some procedures, making them safer and less expensive. This is especially useful in rural locations where patients have limited options for healthcare providers.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
Virtual reality (VR) immerses users in a virtual environment using headsets. It has applications in numerous fields including telemedicine, patient education and rehab therapy.
Medical simulation procedures are a common healthcare application of VR. Doctors and med students practice surgical procedures, learn about new drugs and techniques in digital environments that mimic real-world situations.
AR is similar to VR but overlays digital content on top of the real world. For instance, the Magic Leap device allows users to see and interact with their environment while wearing a headset that displays digital content.
Besides improving educational materials, medical researchers use AR to test treatments for illnesses and diseases. For example, Current Studios has developed an augmented reality (AR) tablet game to help kids stay still during MRIs, reducing the need for anesthesia. This saves time and money for both patients and their families. AR also makes it easier for doctors to collaborate with each other, even when they aren’t in the same room.
What once seemed like science fiction—such as robots performing surgeries—is now becoming more commonplace. These smart technologies allow doctors to access hard-to-reach areas that human dexterity cannot, which helps ensure less invasive procedures and improved patient outcomes.
AI can also help healthcare providers by analyzing large amounts of data to find patterns and predict future outcomes, such as when patients might develop diseases like cancer or diabetes. This allows doctors to make more accurate diagnoses and save lives.
While chatbots can help streamline customer support and connect people to the information they need, it’s important for businesses to understand that these technology tools should be an addition to existing channels and systems of engagement—not a replacement. This means utilizing AI-powered chatbots that integrate with, not replace, human agents. In addition, companies should look for ways to gather insightful user feedback and data through their bots. For example, Zendesk’s Answer Bot allows users to provide feedback after each interaction and lets businesses know if the bot was able to resolve their questions.