Future Health Care Innovation

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The latest research and technology in the health care industry is aimed at changing the way that professionals deliver their services. The future of health care looks bright as new and innovative ideas are revolutionising the way we treat existing conditions.

Scientists are continuing to research medical conditions that have evaded a cure for many years, such as dementia and cancer, while also ploughing resources into emotional conditions like loneliness, which can have a devastating effect on older people in particular. While not all diagnoses are curable, scientists may have found a way to help those affected.

 

Alzheimer’s disease

The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. With an ageing population, the number of deaths as a result of Alzheimer’s is set to rise too. Scientists from Oxford Brain Diagnostics have been carrying out research into catching the condition before the symptoms become apparent.

They have been using a system called cortical disarray measurement to retrieve an extra level of detail from MRI scans. This enables them to detect changes in the brain’s microanatomy, thanks to a unique analysis of the standard MRI scan that already exists.

The latest CDM method can reveal any damage to the cerebral cortex in the very early stages of the disease. Technology might be able to help the pharmaceutical industry by enabling researchers to ascertain how experimental drugs can affect the brain’s microstructure.

Currently, there is no known cure for dementia, nor is there any way of halting the progression of the symptoms. At the very least, early detection can help an individual to make decisions about their future.

If someone notices a decline in their memory, or experiences difficulties in doing every task, such as paying bills or shopping, a simple test can detect dementia. People can then make sure their finances are in order, seek counselling and discuss their future care while they’re still able to do so.

 

Cancer detection

There were 570,000 new cases of cervical cancer across the world in 2018. Around 90% of deaths from cervical cancer occurred in low or middle-income societies. A better screening system and earlier treatment can significantly reduce the mortality rate.

Now, a new system has been invented which can accurately diagnose cervical cancer in minutes. A revolutionary, hand-held, battery-powered colposcope has been designed by Mobile ODT. Called the EVA System, it can take high-quality images of the cervix.

Mobile ODT collaborated with the National Cancer Institute to create Automatic Visual Evaluation, known as AVE. The machine learning algorithm produces an accurate diagnosis of cervical cancer and pre-cancerous cells within minutes. Studies in Korea showed that the EVA System had an accuracy rate of more than 90%.

One of the main benefits of the new device is that it’s hand-held and doesn’t have to be used by an expert health care provider. It is based on smartphone technology, so it’s user-friendly. It also includes a “remote consultation” feature, enabling the user to consult an expert in real-time or later on.

Thanks to the AVE machine learning algorithm, there’s no need for a scrape. The patient can receive her results at the time, rather than having an agonising wait of several weeks to receive the results.

 

Combat loneliness

Health care professionals recognise loneliness as a very real problem all over the world, particularly for elderly people. A new device, the Genie Connect, pledges to combat loneliness and provide a lifeline for people who live alone.

We’ve all read about robotics and how new technology is creating bots that can function in a variety of workplace environments. Service Robotics Limited has recently created a friendly-looking mini-robot to offer support to older people.

The Genie Connect is a companion robot that provides the chance for people to connect. Voice-enabled and intuitive, it carries out commands in the same way as other virtual assistants, but with an additional range of innovative, bespoke features that can be customised.

The bot can set up a conversation with family members and health care professionals or can have a conversation with the elderly person. The aim of the technology is to help stimulate the user’s mind. It will also remind them to attend appointments and take their medication on time.

Although concerns have been expressed in other sectors about robots possibly taking people’s jobs away, in this case, the Genie Connect is filling a gap that is empty for many elderly people who have no family or friends to visit them regularly.

 

Breathing therapy

New device, the SoeMac, was unveiled at the Future Healthcare 2019 innovations conference. It’s so new that it hasn’t yet had any clinical trials. However, its creator, SOE Health Ltd, says the alternative oxygen energy therapy can help people with breathing disorders, such as asthma and COPD.

The aim of the SoeMac is to create energised oxygen, which the body can use to help restore itself at night while you’re sleeping. The small device makes a gentle whirring sound which doesn’t disturb the sleep. You simply turn it on and leave it at your bedside overnight.

It helps people breathe more easily and therefore sleep better, according to its designer, as it draws air inside and produces a bio-usable form of energised oxygen, called Singlet Oxygen Energy – SOE for short. It is said to boost detoxification overnight.

The creators are said to be planning trials in the near future and hope it may help alleviate the symptoms for people who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

 

Future plans

According to the government’s policy paper, The Future of Health Care: Our Vision, published in October 2018, digital technology and data will be playing a larger role in health care in the future. The document outlines plans to make the best use of modern technology to support the health sector.

Plans drawn up by the government outline the use of modern technology as the foundation for a new generation of digital services. Technology will meet the requirements of all users, including patients and the workforce. The focus is putting user needs first, thanks to local organisations managing their own technology and supporting the use of new innovations.

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