Six technologies shaping the future of healthcare
It's amazing to think that we haven't even scratched the surface of what can be achieved when technology and healthcare come together.
The unsung heroes of the tech startup world are the ones focused on making leaps and bounds in medical technology.
Across Australia and around the world, innovators are combining medicine, science and the digital realm to create cures and treatments that can change lives.
These technologies will be coming soon(ish) to a medical provider near you:
Remote health management
The Internet of Things is rapidly changing the way we live and interact with health carers.
Doctors are already able to monitor their disabled, elderly and distant patients with the help of telehealth.
They can check in with them remotely thanks to video and fast internet technology, and with the help of connected devices, can also monitor things like blood pressure, body weight, blood sugar and temperature.
The ability of doctors to provide digital diagnosis relieves pressure on the current healthcare system and saves patients hours in travel time.
Find out more about how remote health management is helping Australians.
Watch: Find out how a patient in regional Victoria no longer has to travel for days to see her specialist, thanks to telehealth services via the nbn™ network.
The technology of ‘printing’ solid objects from a digital file has an increasing place in the health industry. One of the most notable uses is the creation of prosthetics.
Victims of war and combat injuries can have their damaged faces restored with the help of 3D printing.
Many companies around the world are working with families to test custom made prosthetic hands that function like their real counterparts.
The benefit of 3D printing for prosthetics is that it’s fast and cheap, making it an affordable solution for growing children.
Companies around the world are also incorporating robotic elements, allowing 3D printed hands to move, grip and hold.
Robots that operate
Imagine walking into an operating theatre in a tiny country town hospital and preparing to be operated on by your good friend Dr Robot!
It seems very sci-fi and futuristic but this technology is closer than you might think. Doctors will be able to remotely liaise with machines, instructing or manipulating them to perform surgery with the ultimate precision. Procedures carried out by robots will be minimally invasive and result in less scarring and a faster recovery.
Robots that swim
They swim in your blood. No, really.
Tiny nano-robots will have the ability to notify you of disease by keeping an eye on your internal organs and your blood quality.
They will also be able to go to the source of your illness, delivering medicine or antibacterial solutions. Then they’ll communicate with you via an iPhone app.
It seems impossible, but there are already studies underway in China to investigate how injectable nano-particles can overcome biological barriers to the delivery of cancer drugs.
Vision for the blind
Smart glasses that magnify and enhance signs and faces will make a world of difference for the vision impaired.
Tech startup Give Vision develops wearables for the people who need them most.
Their plan is to make the world more accessible for the blind by creating hands-free technology. Give Vision’s glasses will communicate the presence of obstacles, the numbers on bus stops and the details on price tags to their users.
Even more futuristic are the developments made by the team at Bio-Retina, who have come up with a tiny implantable device that acts as an artificial retina.
Similar to a cochlear implant for the ear, once activated the device stimulates neuron to send visual images to the brain.
An example of what an exoskeleton will enable. Photo: Stock image
This year, a ‘Cybathalon’ will be held in Switzerland. This event, the first of its kind, will involve disabled athletes who compete with the help of bionic exoskeletons.
Exoskeletons are wearable robotics that articulate at the hip and knee, enabling paraplegics the ability to walk and even run.
With the help of this battery powered invention and a wrist-mounted remote, those with spinal cord injuries are able to stand upright, turn and even tackle stairs.
Israeli company Rewalk distributes this life changing technology around the world, including to Australia and New Zealand.
If your health is your wealth, the future is a place where everyone can be rich. To start enjoying the potential benefits of telehealth, check your address to see if you can connect to the nbn™ network.