Technological advances and growing digitization have forever changed many industries, the trend only accelerating in the post-pandemic world. Of all these, healthcare, arguably, has benefited the most. The sector has changed in unique ways to improve the level of service it provides. Due to substantial advancements in technology and methods required to serve the increased demand for access to healthcare, expanding digitalization with protected health information is the way forward.
The rapid evolution of technologies like artificial intelligence, extended reality, and bioprinting have led to some ground-breaking innovations in healthcare. This article discusses various trends in healthcare technology and its future in Nepal.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has generated a lot of buzz as a practical technology across several sectors, particularly in healthcare. AI is a potent tool for effectively processing available data to improve efficiency in decision-making. For instance, AI is helping detect pneumonia through an analysis of CT scans. Natural Language Processing is an AI domain being used in Chatbots, which has the potential to improve telehealth efficiency.
We thus see that data is the most significant element in the success of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare. An AI model performs better with higher quality and a broader range of information.
Another trend has been the incorporation of extended reality in healthcare settings. The sector offers a lot of promise for extended reality, a broad phrase that encompasses Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR). Extended reality assists in the planning of surgeries, patient care, and the explanation of difficult medical procedures to patients and their loved ones. Along with providing heads-up information to the surgeons, it is also helpful for training purposes.
AR has been used to develop various assistive devices as well. For instance, AccuVein, a US-based startup, has developed an AR-based device to assist nurses in finding the vein in patients, which has traditionally been an arduous task, especially in children and the elderly, with data suggesting a 40 percent of IVs (intravenous injections) miss the vein on the first stick.
A prominent innovation that has been a boon for healthcare is integration of technology in wearables. Patients carrying devices to access their healthcare information and receive treatment have been standard for a long time. Diabetes patients wear glucose monitors. Instead of a gadget that sits on a table and needs to be linked, implanted devices like pacemakers and defibrillators offer a life-saving, close connection with patients.
Wearables like smartwatches are becoming an integral part of our day-to-day life. They can regularly monitor an individual’s health parameters like heart rate and blood oxygen saturation without an additional device. Smartwatches can also be equipped with other micro-sensors in the future to avoid life-threatening conditions.
Bio-printing is another field disrupting healthcare with artificial organ development. Bio 3D printers are similar to traditional 3D printers. Here the digital model of the organ to be printed is first designed on a computer. Then it is sliced and exported to a 3D printer, which creates the 3D object layer. These printers use bioinks as the material; great attention is needed to retain the desired resolution and structure. Different organs have been developed using bioprinting and are under clinical testing.
In Nepal, it is crucial to keep an eye on the current trends influencing healthcare technology as we move forward. Modern hospitals and care facilities rely heavily on legacy infrastructure and software. But time has now come to think about how those systems might be integrated with newer technologies or eventually replaced by more dependable ones.
A technology incubation center to develop and test these technologies is of utmost importance—we need to be abreast of the rest of the world in this digital technological revolution, enhancing the quality and efficiency of our present healthcare system. Most notably, along with technological incubation, the healthcare sector should, with greater use of new technologies, prioritize improvements in performance, productivity, efficiency, and security without compromising dependability and accessibility.