Wednesday, July 14, 2021

9 Amazing Technologies Fueling Medical Breakthroughs and Changing Healthcare

We’re living in amazing times. Who would have thought just a few years ago that you could see your doctor on your phone without having to go to the office? That’s just the beginning of how tech is changing the landscape in healthcare.

Today, researchers are 3D printing organs, monitoring patient conditions remotely, creating smart pills that can be controlled by smartphones, and using artificial intelligence to detect breast cancer. More than $26 billion has been invested in healthcare tech funding in Q1 2021 alone.

Here are some of the biggest advances in medicine made possible by emerging technology.


One of the biggest changes over the past year has been the public embracing telehealth and virtual doctor visits.

Patient use of telemedicine was already up 33% from 2019 to 2020, but the COVID pandemic skyrocketed the use of virtual doctor visits. More than 80% of patients say they will be taking advantage of telehealth in the future.

Advanced diagnostic tools are being deployed along with telehealth to provide higher quality healthcare in rural and under-served areas. For example, a rural hospital may not have specialists living in the local area, but technology provides a way for remote consultations and diagnosis.


Wearables are making an impact, too. Continuous remote patient monitoring (CRPM) allows healthcare providers to monitor a patient's vital signs in real-time.

Nursing homes can monitor dozens of residents from a single screen without having to disrupt patients. This is especially important for patients with chronic conditions. CRPM is recognizing exacerbations more promptly and reducing trips to the ER.

Wearable CRPM devices monitor blood oxygen levels, temperature, blood pressure, and more. For patients dealing with COPD, wearables have significantly improved patient compliance.

Robotic Surgeries

Robotic surgery is being used commonly for minimally invasive procedures. Surgeons can perform complex procedures with tighter precision. Already, millions of surgeries have been performed using robotics to assist doctors with everything from biopsies to spinal fusion surgery.

Research is now focusing on robotics, which isn’t just used as an extension of a surgeon’s arm but can literally be placed inside the body with just a tiny incision and treat colon cancer, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and more.

3D Printing

Scientists are now 3D printing medical devices. New devices can be created as rapid prototypes for testing before manufacturing. Doctors are also using 3D printing for the creation of custom artificial limbs, orthotics, and more.

New research is aimed at bioprinting and tissue engineering to create new tissues, blood vessels, and even organs on demand.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more common in healthcare to aid in detection and recognition.

Google Health and Deep Mind used AI and machine learning (ML) to analyze mammograms and recognize patterns indicating breast cancer. In tests, the AI-enhanced models reduced the number of false negatives by more than 9% and outperformed human radiologists in detection by more than 11%.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are making big changes to training programs. Doctors are using VR and AR tools to simulate surgery. One study published in the Harvard Business Review revealed that surgeons trained using VR tools received more than double the performance reviews of others trained in traditional methods.

AI and AR-enhanced tools are being used that can scan a patient’s body and make their veins visible to doctors and nurses. This can help make blood draws or IV insertions more efficient. VR headsets showing relaxing simulations are being used to ease chronic pain, and make giving birth less painful. Augmented reality is being used to create holographic visualizations of a patient’s anatomy that floats over patients during treatments to help doctors treat cardiac arrhythmias.

Genomic Medicine

Research has created numerous breakthroughs from the identification of a patient’s causative gene mutation thanks to the Human Genome Project. Diagnostic labs and research facilities are using what they have learned to diagnose and discover the cause behind many different diseases.

Genome editing holds promise for creating gene-modification therapies to treat conditions. Hundreds of clinical trials are testing gene therapy to try to produce new treatments.


For years, nanotech has been the domain of science fiction. Today, we are on the cusp of using nanoparticles and even nanodevices to deliver targeted drug delivery for diseases such as cancer treatments.

MIT researchers have developed a pill with nanoparticles embedded that can be controlled wirelessly and release drugs on command from a smartphone.

Wireless Brain Sensors

Speaking of wireless technology, scientists have dreamed up a device to treat brain disorders. Bioresorbable electronics can be placed inside the brain to monitor temperature, pressure, and activity. When they are no longer needed, the sensor can dissolve, which eliminates the need for additional surgery to remove it.

This is a guest blog entry.

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