How technology is shaping healthcare innovation

For thousands of years, human health has been object of study by scientists and researchers around the world.

The curiosity (and need) to get to know the human body propelled technological advances that allowed us to reach our current evolutionary point. Medicine is based on evolution, scientific research and technological innovation. Each passing day brings more essential information so we can live a healthier life.

Robotics and AI

When it comes to technological transformation in healthcare, robotics is gaining ground: the DaVinci robot at Curry Cabral Hospital (Lisbon, Portugal) supports doctors performing surgeries. These robots have cutting edge technology that allows medical teams to obtain a higher rate of success.
Behind these innovations are years of scientific research and the dedication of hundreds of researchers in the fields of Robotics, IT and Medicine. Through close collaboration, scientists, doctors and computer engineers have designed robots that provide patients access to innovative medical services: higher precision, speed and accuracy.
In recent years, Artificial Intelligence has been applied to Medicine, and medical software now diagnoses with an accuracy very similar to that of humans. The IDx-DR software is a case in point. Through an innovative camera that obtains images of the eye, this software can accurately diagnose diabetic retinopathy. In turn, the Accipio Ix is capable of identifying and prioritizing patients who have suffered strokes or traumatic brain injuries.

This degree of technological innovation is based on mathematical algorithms designed in a way that allows a machine to improve its own operation, through trial-and-error and, consequently, to propose increasingly accurate diagnostic hypotheses. In these types of programs, also called clinical decision support systems, the information analyzed by the computer is later verified and validated by a doctor and, thus, Human Intelligence is combined with Artificial Intelligence for the benefit of the patient.

Robots are getting more advanced, and also smaller. Nano-robots now measure less than 100 nm, built in various shapes and from different metals, polymers, ceramics or composites, that can navigate blood vessels, and even capillaries, to perform a medical action.
Nanorobotics’ coming of age has introduced a significant number of applications to the field of Medicine. Namely in the way pharmaceuticals are made available to the organism, managing to deliver a drug directly from point A (point of administration) to point B (point of action), within the human body, increasing the initial efficiency of the drug in the target organ by up to 55%.

Virtual Reality

In 2016, in a London Hospital, the first surgery was broadcast using virtual reality, allowing medical students and doctors all over the world to see the details of the surgery live and with a 360º panorama.

Since that moment, Medical Virtual Reality has become an innovative learning method. It can also be used by patients, as a way of relaxation during a medical intervention.

Virtual reality programs are now part of the physical recovery of patients, during Physiotherapy sessions, or in reabilitação Neurológica, with favorable results.

Telemedicine

 Nowadays, telemedicine guarantees patient monitoring from a distance. Despite the current relevance, this form of practicing medicine began in the 1950s, mainly as a way of transmitting radiological images through digital means.
From the 90's onwards, the internet has allowed the instant transmission of medical images. More recently, the innovation in communication equipment, such as smartphones and video conference software has revolutionized the way telemedicine is made, making it in a tool with great efficiency, which can bring together doctors and patients in real time. This evolution has broadened access to health services, now reaching everyone with a smartphone or computer and who may be unable to visit healthcare providers.
Telemedicine is an integral part of the National Health Service in many countries. Its main objectives are telesurveillance (monitoring the patient at home or at a local healthcare venue, through a doctor or healthcare professional), teleconsultation (which can be performed between doctors or between doctor and patient), teleformation (aimed at health professionals); and even issuing medical reports.
The exponential evolution of technologies and innovation in computer systems applied to Medicine brought greater efficiency and safety to the execution of medical acts, contributing to an increase in patient satisfaction.
Protecting patient's safety, privacy and health implies treating each case individually. People expect their information to be protected, as well as full disclosure on the usage of robots and computer equipment applied to his or her condition, so that an informed decision can be made.
Future Health Care is an integral part of this discussion. Our mission is to provide customers with access to the best healthcare. To this end, we constantly analyze the latest research and technological development programs and promote public dialogue on technological innovation applied to medicine.

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