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Surgery is a field that’s constantly in flux. New technological developments are constantly underway, but their adoption in practice takes time. Doctors often prefer to hedge their bets on tried-and-tested surgical intervention, which in some cases has a safer and more predictable outcome for the patient.
However, without healthcare innovation, the medical field in America wouldn’t be where it is today. That’s why carefully tested, scientifically endorsed developments in surgery tactics are slowly changing the landscape of healthcare. Here, we explore some trends to look out for in the coming years and how they’ll be integrated into medicine by healthcare practitioners.
Technical Trends in Surgery
So, how exactly is technology changing healthcare? It all comes down to two basic principles: automating processes that can be and improving those that can’t.
Tech plus healthcare is the perfect crossover. Our wearable technology records our biometrical data, which can then be used for analysis. Data findings from the Apple Watch, for instance, have allowed the company to design a watch specifically aimed at monitoring symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.
3D printing means it’s possible to manufacture small organs, synthetic skin, and more, whereas cloud computing saves providers time and money on administrative work. The cloud is a safe and reliable place to store patient data, which providers can then access from any device, but some confidentiality concerns still linger.
Biomaterials have also paved the way in fields like orthopedics and cancer treatment. When it comes to cancer therapies, treatments involving biomaterials are preferable to alternatives because they target the exact site of the tumor. Doctors at the University of Adelaide, Australia, have successfully induced cancer regression using this method, a strong indication that biomaterials are changing healthcare.
Another innovation comes in the field of fetal surgery, which is being transformed by mussel glue, of all things. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, around 3% of the 4 million babies born annually in the U.S. have a significant birth defect. While many of those can now be corrected before birth, some procedures, known as ‘fetoscopic,’ are exceptionally risky due to the chance of puncture to the amniotic sac, which can cause miscarriage.
To prevent fetal membrane leakage, bioengineer Philip Messersmith has developed an ingenious method using mussel glue to adhere to, protect, and heal the site without the use of the toxic chemicals usually present in sealants. Because of the delicate nature of this field, intense collaborative effort amongst scientists is needed to research and employ such techniques.
Incorporating Technologies for Healthcare Professionals
When it comes to putting these new technologies into action, it’s the medical practitioners on the frontline who will be in the thick of things, constantly learning and integrating new techniques into their practice.
Professionals like surgery technicians are among these providers, working alongside doctors to prep patients and assist during surgeries. Although surgery techs may not be the ones developing new surgery technologies, they’re at the forefront of implementation.
Considering a career in surgical technology will give you the chance to assist in life-altering operations and make a difference in your work every day. The U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the profession is in high demand and expects the field to grow a whopping 9% between 2018 and 2028.
Challenges Moving Forward
As we’ve seen over the past year, the field of healthcare is not devoid of its struggles.
COVID-19 presented a nearly unthinkable barrier between doctor-patient care, a hurdle that healthcare professionals quickly overcame by instituting widespread telehealth practices. For providers overwhelmed with administrative work or in need of diagnostic assistance, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has also proved to be a useful tool.
As we look toward the future of healthcare, technology will continue to play an integral role in medical practice, whether through AI or wearable tech. With the aid of technical trends, the challenges of the healthcare sector can be met.