Imagine a person undergoes major surgery; and happily comes out of the hospital the very next day and goes to the workplace and performs the designated work nicely.
Sounds like impossible, right?????
No, this is possible. The pace at which the healthcare technologies are advancing, the day is not far when we will experience this in our day-to-day life.
Necessity is the mother of Invention!!!!!!
This proverb says that the primary driving force for most new inventions is a need. And the needs of human beings are endless, so the inventions will also be endless.
The advancement in the medical technology is progressing at a rate faster than the human mind can assimilate. These inventions will no doubt make our life simpler and better. In future, it is also possible that the hospitals will be meant only for critical conditions and mass casualties. With the development of mHealth and telehealth technologies, people are likely to fall less ill or can diagnose a disease condition before it can cause any fatal damage to the individual. These technological developments also are capable of connecting the patient with doctors via their computers or mobile which in turn reduces the frequency of visiting hospitals.
20 years down the lane, futurist predicts that the technological developments like nanotechnology can make humans immortal. In 30 or 40 years, scientists are planning to create microscopic machines that can travel through the body, repair the damaged cells and organs, and efficaciously wipe out diseases. Some nano-technological developments are also in the phase of development that can back up our memories and personalities.
If these technologies continue to be at the same speed, the future hospitals will not be just a hospital, rather it will be an interconnected network provider that will deliver coordinated care across the continuum.
These days we can see a vast change in the way of treatment in different hospitals. This modified way is nothing but the use of “Fast-Track” technology. Some technologies have done well in the current time, and some still need recognition.
Telehealth is one of the biggest innovations in digital health in the present year. The increasing use of Smartphones and mobile phone are the secret behind the development of telehealth worldwide.
The wearable devices like Fitbit, Jawbone are starting to make a significant impact on improving the quality of health of individuals. Telemedicine counts for almost one-fourth of the health information technology market, which was valued at $15.6 billion in 2014. It is expected to increase to nearly $20 billion by 2019 with a compound annual growth rate of 4.8%.
Portable diagnostics can be used to overcome the challenges in the healthcare system. These are compact sized devices that can be used any where required. They can be carried by the individuals who require frequent medical monitoring. They can also be used as apps from the mobile phones.
Some examples are
Colorimetrix is an app that can be used for colorimetric tests by using the camera on the mobile phone. The results can be obtained within few seconds. The diagnostic strips are used for these testing. When the urine or the saliva are tested with the strips by dropping into the solution, the color of the solution changes, which is captured as an image in the mobile phone and the app analyzes the color and displays a numerical result on the phone’s screen. This result can be sent to the healthcare professional for treatment. This can be used for identifying glucose, protein, and PH concentrations. Further development of the app is being carried out for testing of kidney function and infections.
Blood to Bluetooth is an app that can work by dropping one small drop of blood into a small receptacle and this can diagnose pneumonia, flu, and Ebola within few seconds.
Comprehensive Health Assessment Unit (CHAS) is an app that can be used for self-diagnosis. It works with the vital patches attached to the body. It can continuously monitor EKG, heart rate, body temperature.
Hybrid Operating Rooms
A hybrid operating room is equipped with a large fixed imaging system that supports high-quality interventional imaging and complex open and minimally invasive surgeries. The hybrid operating room allows the physicians to perform procedures using real-time image guidance, and to assess the effectiveness and manage perioperative complications, all in a single encounter contrary to the conventional operating rooms.
In the hybrid operating rooms, the surgical lights, gantries holding imaging equipment, medical columns for anesthesia, and flat screens needs to be placed in a very tight space. For proper placing of the equipment and the medical and technical staff’s workflow, the design team of these rooms number of visual tools should be employed. 3-D modeling and animated fly-through can help to visualize and analyze the physical topography of the room with all of the equipment in place.
The benefits of Hybrid operating rooms in hospitals are:
- New Surgical Utilization
- Enhanced Patient Safety
- Time and Long-term Cost Savings
- Efficient and content operating room staff
The industrial experts have an assumption that by 2018, a 75% of hybrid operating rooms may be required by the cardiovascular surgeons. Hybrid operating rooms will be the trend for the hospitals in the future.
They are advancements to the traditional operating rooms. These advancements can improve the quality of the healthcare with the benefits of the care provided. The operation procedures can be simplified by the enhancement of viewing at the operative site. Some of the differences in traditional and hybrid operating systems are shown below
|Traditional ORs||Hybrid ORs|
Compromised sterile techniques
Rigorous use of sterile techniques
|Portable C-Arms are used||
Fixed C-Arms are used
High exposure to radiation
Low exposure to radiation
|Space issues are faced||More suitable space is provided|
|Risk of infections||Low risk of infections|
Different techniques that involve hybrid operating rooms are
- Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)
- Transcatheter endovascular aortic repair (EVAR)
- Combined percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)
- Transcatheter endovascular thoracic aortic valve replacement (TEVAR)
Some of the examples of hospitals with hybrid operating rooms are
- HRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Shoreline is treating cardiovascular and neurological disorders in hybrid operating rooms
- Loyola University Hospital is providing cardiac catheterization in hybrid operating rooms
- Sultan Qaboos University has a hybrid operating room that allows for catheterization and surgery at the same place
- Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centreis providing oncology services
Technologies that are expected to be used by every hospital in Future
The future scenario of hospitals will change immensely compared to the present scenario of hospitals. The latest innovations in the healthcare technologies will penetrate the hospitals largely. Some of these technologies that are invented and are expected to be seen in hospitals soon are:
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE BASED TREATMENT
Artificial intelligence can help in taking a medical decision that is out of reach of the human brain and can help in acquiring the latest data for the treatment and medication. It can be used for diagnosis decision and support system. Huge information hidden in the resource bank can be mined properly with the artificial technology for the appropriate prediction of the diseases.
Powerful data analytics tools are required for the extraction of the data which can be supported by the artificial intelligence. The artificial intelligence can be used for the early prediction of the diseases with few inputs for example; it can predict the chances of heart disease with input information like age, blood pressure and blood sugar of a patient. This is actually based on web based questionnaire application tool. It can work with accuracy and allows for access to detailed information.
Surgical and humanoid robots work with artificial intelligence. They can support and enhance the skill and flexibility of a surgeon. These can be the most important part of the future hospital technologies for performing the large and minimally invasive surgeries. Surgical teams integrated with surgical and humanoid robots can work efficiently with accuracy. They can help in increasing the surgeon’s dexterity and support hospital staff in treatment based activities. These technologies can be used for assistance but not to replace the doctors.
Examples of some surgical and humanoid robots are
The surgical and humanoid robots can help the surgeons in performing delicate and complex surgeries with ease. They improve control and flexibility while performing surgery. The advantages of surgical and humanoid robots are listed below:
- Reduced risk
- Improved results
- Decreased blood loss
- Reduced noticeable scars
- Faster recovery of the patients
- Less complications at the surgical site
Some of the surgical procedures that can be assisted by surgical robots are:
- Tubal ligation
- Kidney removal
- Hip replacement
- Cancer treatment
- Kidney transplant
- Mitral valve repair
- Radical cystectomy
- Gallbladder removal
- Radical prostatectomy
- Coronary artery bypass
Just imagine the world where the stuff or articles one need or want can be created on demand. Just turn on a computer, plug in a blueprint, fill the printer with the required material, and in a couple of the desired article is in the hand.
Isn’t this sound like science fiction? But 3D printing has already become a reality, and it’s starting making huge impact in healthcare.
Three-dimensional bioprinting is a process by which living tissue are artificially constructed by outputting layer-upon-layer of living cells.
The healthcare 3-D printing market is expected to exceed $4 billion by 2018. While the increased use of customized prosthesis and other devices will drive the market, there are more ambitious uses on the horizon.
Scientists are now investigating the possibility of “printing” complex organs. Researchers at Princeton University, have already prototyped an outer ear from the hydrogel, silver nanoparticles, and human cells.
Regenerative medicine is the branch of translational research in tissue engineering and molecular biology that focuses on restoration or establishment of normal function of the body by the process of replacing, engineering or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs.
This field of works for restoring the structure and function of damaged cells, tissues and organs. The scientists are finding solutions for organs that are damaged permanently. The main motto of this medicine is to find a path to cure to the previously untreatable injuries and diseases.
The four different fields in which regenerative medicine is making its way are
- Medical devices and Artificial organs:
People with the neuronal birth defect like spina bifida are unable to control their bladder. These patients need to empty their bladder manually. This inability to urinate at will or to regulate the buildup of urine can cause back up into the kidneys and places the patient at a risk for life threatening damage. Thanks to the regenerative medicine that saved lives of some children and teenager with this defect by making implanting urinary bladders that are grown from their own cells.
Regenerative Medicine is working to improve and enhance the quality of life of different patients all over the world. Scientists work with this powerful technology to invent new body parts from a patient’s cells and tissues. These will eradicate the issue of tissue rejection.
2. Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials:
The main motto of regenerative medicine is to be capable of maintaining the body as such with eliminating the need for replacing the whole organs. Some diseases like heart diseases are so destructive that traditional medicine can be cured by replacing it with entirely new organs in which regenerative medicine can be a breakthrough.
3. Cellular therapies:
Imagine the situation of patients with leukemia. In the treatment process, the healthy cells of these patients also get destroyed while eliminating the cancer cells. Then their bodies will be in drastic need for new cells. The bone marrow from a compatible donor is required for the recovery of the damaged cells. Most often, finding a compatible donor is very difficult task. By using this medicine technology new cells can be created from our cells
4. Clinical Translations: Clinical translation helps the fast track trial for ground breaking medicines.
Brain Machine Interface
Brain-computer interface (BCI) is the connection between brain and a device that enables signals from the brain to direct some external activity like moving a finger.
This interface enables direct communications pathway between the brain and the object is to be controlled. In the case of controlling the finger, for example, the signal is directly transmitted from our brain to the mechanism directing the finger, rather than the normal route through the body’s neuromuscular system from the brain to the finger.
5. MEDICAL TRICORDERS
A Medical tricorder is an indispensable tool and a handheld portable scanning device that diagnoses medical conditions within seconds. It is equipped with sensors and analysis software that are tailored for medical diagnostic purposes.
It can be used to measure the vital signs of blood pressure and temperature, and blood flow in a noninvasive way. It can also diagnose core condition like diabetes, stroke, tuberculosis and hepatitis A. This device is also able to send that data to the cloud so that patients and doctors can access and talk about the results.
Medical tricorders can be used by the consumers for self-diagnoses. The medical tricorders are the handheld devices that can take basic vital measurements within seconds. They can be used for diagnosis of the disease and monitor the health. The health state of the individuals can be summarized with the information collected by the tricorders.
Examples of the medical tricorders that are under development are
Body sensors are the tiny wearable sensors that can collect critical health parameters. They are convenient and inexpensive to use. These are the revolutions in the electronic healthcare. They help in physiological monitoring and involve both doctor and patients. The body sensors are designed and manufactured and placed in the models that are used and worn in daily life like clothing and accessories. Triaxial accelerometers and gyroscopes are the examples of body sensors.
Some examples of body sensors are
How the hospitals will look in 2025
The hospitals in future will be less about recovery from acute illness and more about rejuvenating ourselves. The shift will be comparable to the transition in the healthcare system from reactive to proactive care, from acute care to disease management and prevention. Hospitals of 2025 will become a place to double-check that patients are on track to stay healthy. Delivering care will be patient-centered along with intelligent designs for improving the healing process.
Scenario of Patient Room in Future Hospitals
NXT Health along with other companies and talented architects is planning to modernize the future hospitals and give them a new look that would be more patient centric along with technological innovations.
NXT Health blending of imagination with innovation to generate patient-centered innovation for healthcare.
According to the design that NXT Health planned for future hospitals, the patient room will have the following features:
- Negligible Waiting time: Cognitive computer will organize all the details of the healthcare system. It will direct the individuals when and where to go by analyzing their records. It will also automatically respond to doctors’ notes and prescriptions. Waiting rooms will feature charging sets for wearable devices where data could also be exported before the visit. This will reduce the need of physician workforce for evaluating the patient, and they can attend more patients.
- Cameras: Cameras will record every movement in the operating room as robots will be controlled from different, sometimes distant locations.Patient comfort: Flexible touch screens that will feature important health data will be around the bed that can be controlled by the patient.
- Small and compact Equipments: Devices and equipment of radiology, surgery and many other specialties from CT scans to endoscopic technologies will be of minuscule size that can fit inside the operation room.
- Better and precise operation: By the use of radiology images such as CT or MRI scans of patients, surgeons will be able to look into the body and even organs of patients before the operation for better surgical planning. By the use of Google glass, surgeons can make more precise movements during the operation by these virtual images augmented into reality.
- Robots in hospitals: Sophisticated surgical robots will be ruling the operating rooms in future.
- Patient friendly: The walls might include virtual reality to make the patient feels at home by showing those images and pictures from their home which they can upload to the system while lying in a hospital bed.
As the power of technology grows, we move ever closer to making some pretty spectacular science fiction into reality. Healthcare is at a major turning point as doctors and hospitals look for ways to improve health outcomes while meeting cost constraints. There’s no doubt that the healthcare technologies are changing the way patient experience healthcare. Patients are now becoming more and more accessible to these technologies in their everyday life that offers a more convenient and accessible healthcare. The speed at which the technologies are invading the healthcare industries, there is no doubt that one day our hospital will be a network that totally will be embedded with technologies. The future hospitals will be delivering care through robots and other new inventions.