Next-Level Care

Next-Level Care

New innovations in healthcare are changing the industry, making it possible to provide patients with faster, more efficient and better care.

As these technologies are refined, receive FDA approval and gain acceptance in hospitals across the United States, there will be many opportunities for small business owners in the healthcare industry to use these innovations to better service their clients and for entrepreneurs to start businesses that will make these technologies more accessible to hospitals across the country and the world.

Here are five technologies that will reshape the healthcare industry:

3-D printing
The process, which consists of a machine rapidly layering materials to make a digital model, is considered a game-changer across many industries. However, the innovation has special uses in healthcare, specifically in planning for and simplifying difficult surgeries and in creating custom implants and prosthetics.

The technology is expected to drastically reduce the cost, time and mistakes associated with complex surgeries. Plus, it could eventually be used to replace organs, skin, cartilage and bone, as well as make it possible to better study stem cells and cancer.

Digestible sensors
Already approved by the FDA in 2012, digestible sensors will make it possible for doctors to collect data on everything from what a patient eats, drinks and smokes to his or her vital signs. In addition, the sensors will send alerts to patients’ caregivers and medical staff notifying them when something is wrong, specifically offering elderly patients more autonomy. In addition, under constant supervision, patients with chronic conditions will be more likely to take their medications and follow their doctors’ orders, keeping them out of the ER. 

Other devices are in development that would be used to take photographs from within the body and could take the place of invasive procedures, like the colonoscopy, increasing early detection for cancer and other diseases.

Electronic aspirin
Currently undergoing clinical investigation by Autonomic Technologies, electronic aspirin is poised to change the way chronic sufferers of cluster headaches, migraines and facial pain manage their conditions.

The small nerve-stimulating device is permanently implanted in the upper gum on the side of the head that is most often affected by the pain and connects with a facial nerve bundle called the sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG). When the patient feels a headache coming on, he or she uses a handheld remote controller to send a signal to the implant, which then stimulates the SPG and blocks the pain-causing neurotransmitters.

Pain-free diabetes management
New products are on the market making it easier and less painful for diabetics to check sugar levels and administer insulin. More than 29 million Americans have diabetes, and the technologies can ensure that people are taking better care of themselves and more effectively managing the disease.

Echo Therapeutics’ Symphony CGM System is a wireless and continuous monitoring system that provides real-time glucose data without the need to draw blood. The sensor collects the data and triggers an alarm when glucose levels move outside of a patient’s optimal range.

V-Go’s insulin patch pump is a disposable insulin-delivery device that sticks directly to the skin, providing patients with a continuous infusion of rapid-acting insulin.

Robotic medical technology
Robots are making their way into operation, emergency and in-patient hospital rooms, as well as being used for in-home patient care. For example, the da Vinci Surgical System is minimally invasive, allowing surgeons to operate through a few small incisions, so recovery for patients is shorter and less painful.

Other robots can now check patients’ vital signs and manage their charts. RP-VITA, for example, is a mobile remote-presence robot that is programmed to move through a hospital. It comes equipped with medical-monitoring equipment and two-way video.

Such equipment makes it possible to provide care to patients in all hospitals, especially those rural areas that suffer from staff shortages.

Technology has revolutionized the healthcare industry, changing everything from how medical professionals diagnose diseases to how they operate on patients. The innovations make it possible to offer specialized care more inexpensively, efficiently and quickly than ever before, and it is an exciting time to be in the industry.

Jaimy Ford is a professional business writer with nearly a decade's worth of experience developing newsletters, blogs, e-letters, training tools and webinars for business professionals. She contributes to both The Intuit Small Business Blog and She also serves as editor-in-chief of Sales Mastery, a digital magazine written specifically for sales professionals.

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