Future Healthcare is an annual conference in London which attracts innovators in the healthcare sector. This year, as ever, saw the unveiling of some incredible new technological advances in the field of medical science which promise to change lives in the near future.
Inhalers linked to smartphones
Inhalers are perhaps the most common form of medical interventional for asthma sufferers, but this is a technology that has failed to move forward significantly for many years. Now, however, there is a new generation of smart inhalers which promise to revolutionize the way asthma sufferers monitor the administration of their dosage. Blue-tooth technology sends data from the inhaler directly to the users’ smartphone in order to keep important data regarding dosage size and frequency of administration. Not only does research suggest that this is an effective means to control dosages, but it also increases the number of clear days that sufferers experience.
Health wearables themselves are nothing new – wearable headsets date back to 2000 and Fitbit has become a company synonymous with health wearable products. However, with the continuation of development in technology and algorithms used to read the data that wearables produces, the level of information revealed is startling, and it can be used to manage existing health complaints such as cholesterol levels and is even beginning to be used in the diagnosis of health problems.
“At the end of 2018 Apple revealed a Series 4 watch that used an integrated ECG in order to monitor heart rhythms, and this ground-breaking advancement looks set to be joined by a plethora of other products able to monitor all manner of bodily messages, enthuses Abigail Saunders, a healthcare writer at 1day2Write and Writemyx.
Telehealth is a rapidly developing innovation which promises to truly revolutionize the way in which healthcare services are delivered. It allows for patients to access information directly through their digital device and is already beginning to be used for sufferers with chronic conditions who need consistent and up-to-date assistance that one-to-one appointments simply cannot keep up with. Virtual medical assistance is provided and can be delivered almost instantaneously. The impact on overstretched medical programmes across the globe could be truly remarkable.
Blockchain technology has become synonymous with cryptocurrencies, but its potential could change the way patients access and share their medical information with healthcare professionals. The idea is to place the patient more firmly in the center of the process, enabling them to communicate with their details to a variety of consultants, which will increasingly be via online interactions rather than the traditional face-to-face variety. “Blockchain technology will allow the secure storage and distribution of confidential records unlike never before”, states Sandeep Pant, a writer at Brit student and Next coursework.
Mobile cancer screening
In treatment for cervical cancer, early intervention is key. The development of mobile cancer screening apparatus which is battery powered and, crucially, able to be operated by non-professionals, could significantly impact the mortality rate experienced with cervical cancer. The apparatus utilises algorithms which, in tests which have taken place in Korea, produced a 90% accuracy reading. It is hand-held and is also linked remotely via smartphone technology to consultants.
These innovations, plus many more which have been presented at the Future Healthcare Conference 2019 promise to change the lives of those affected by a multitude of diseases, but also in the case of wearables, measure our day-to-day activities to impact upon our lifestyles. The focus is prevention as well as intervention, and this continues to be an exciting time in the healthcare sector with technology at the forefront.