It can be said that of all the ways technology improves human life around the world, none is more important than the advancement of medical technology. From the invention of x-ray machines to the advancement of surgery, technology has made us healthier and extended life expectancy.
As we move into the 21st century, we will see the progress in the development of technologies to cure disease and improve quality of life. There are several advantages and disadvantages of medical technology in healthcare that we’ll discuss in this article.
What is Medical Technology?
“Medical technology can be defined as the application of science to develop solutions to health problems or issues such as the prevention or delay of onset of diseases or the promotion and monitoring of good health.”
Medical technologies enable the early and accurate diagnosis of health problems, facilitating timely intervention and improving outcomes. Innovative products can replace, repair, and sustain failing body functions.
Advantages of Medical Technology in Healthcare
Healthcare professionals and patients are getting a lot of advantages from the implementation of medical technology in healthcare centers. Let’s have a look at some of the major inventions of medical technology being used in the 21century.
1. Electronic Health Record (EHR)
Any student majoring in health informatics knows that the development of electronic health records is a major change in the medical field, which can promote countless advances in medical diagnosis and treatment.
In the past, hospitals had different information systems that were difficult to share and transmit patient records. With the advent of electronic medical records, many systems have been connected for faster information transmission and more integrated and efficient care.
2. Mobile Apps
Today, it is possible to monitor personal health using nowadays innovative apps. You can count your calories, track your sleep patterns, monitor your heart rate, or even remotely consult a physician. There are social media apps for doctors to interact, and apps that link patients to physicians. To say that apps are rapidly changing the healthcare industry is an understatement.
There are better and more accessible treatments today than at any other moment in history. This is largely due to technological innovations.
Telemedicine refers to the advancement method of medical care based on telecommunications technology. There are several reasons why telemedicine is becoming increasingly popular and successful.
- First, in rural areas that lack of hospitals and other healthcare services, patients can use their computers for effective meetings with doctors.
- Second, the cost benefits associated with telemedicine are huge. According to a study by the Connected Medical Alliance, telemedicine services can save up to $100 per visit.
- Another study published in the journal CHEST showed that patients in an ICU equipped with telemedicine services were discharged within 20 days, and the mortality rate was 26% lower than that of the traditional ICU.
4. Remote Monitoring Tool
One of the most convenient advantages of medical technology in healthcare is the remote monitoring tool. Patients can save money and reduce excessive visits to the doctor’s office. By the end of 2012, nearly 3 million patients worldwide were using the home health monitoring system.
The pacemakers for cardiac patients can automatically send data to the telemedicine center. Well suited for patients with chronic diseases, these tools allow the system to remotely monitor the health of patients.
5. Wearable Technology
The portable medical device market is growing rapidly. These devices collect data to help doctors and patients monitor and assess the health of the user.
In addition to devices that alert authorities to serious medical problems, there are also very popular wearable devices, such as bracelets, watches, Wearable continuous glucose monitors, etc.
that allows users to play an active role in their health. According to the Huffington Post, by 2018, 130 million handheld devices are expected to be delivered to consumers.
6. Genome Sequencing
Some people say that personal genomics is the future of healthcare. Personal genomics refers to the sequencing and analysis of a person’s genome and then providing the person with their genome information.
Human genome sequencing is one of the biggest advantages of medical technology in healthcare for the past 40 years. Dr. Francis Collins, Dean of the National Institutes of Health, said in modern healthcare “Throughout human history, we have worked without understanding the instructions, and the human genome provides us with it. It’s like crossing a bridge.
7. 3D Printing
Today, it is possible to reproduce bones and some internal organs using 3D printing technology. These artificial organs and bones can then be introduced into the body of the patient to replace diseased or problematic areas.
Surgeons are also using 3D printing technology to have a better understanding of what is happening inside their patients’ bodies. With a 3D model, it is significantly easier for a surgeon to have a closer look at the problem and simulate a variety of solutions or possible operations that can be undertaken before performing the actual surgery on the patient.
Advances in medical technology have made many life-saving procedures. Just a few decades ago, the idea of visiting a doctor virtually from hundreds or thousands of miles away was incredible. To be a part of the convergence of medicine and technology, consider all of the above-mentioned advantages of medical technology in healthcare and implement these in your daily life.
You can also check the related articles about the advantages and disadvantages of medical technology in healthcare.
Disadvantages of medical technology in healthcare
We are very obsessed with technology, especially in medical applications. More and more medical equipment and devices are invented and improved. But it is said that updating may not mean better. Technology can help provide expensive healthcare services, but it often lacks evidence of its dominance in today’s medical equipment.
The advantages and disadvantages of medical technology in healthcare are going side by side as for other inventions. Here are some of the disadvantages of medical technology in healthcare:
1. Laser Treatment
This includes using a laser in surgery. In the 1980s and 1990s, they became popular for melting brain tumors. They are said to be more accurate than traditional methods of cutting, aspirating, or cauterizing tumors. Finally, there is evidence that lasers are expensive and slow. The long-term effect on patients has never been better, and in some cases even worse.
2. MRI or CT scanning
And now, especially neurosurgeons are again using another promising technique. Intraoperative surgical navigation is a procedure that uses MRI or CT scanning. The machine displays a 3D image of the brain, allowing the surgeon to navigate the brain without touching or damaging surrounding tissues (such as the optic nerve). It will be easier to remove most tumors. The increased margin of safety will allow surgeons to safely remove larger portions of the tumor.
3. Money-making source
What we need is to prove which statement is correct. Well-designed research can tell us what we want to ask. The international model is very illuminating to obtain reliable results. In other developed countries, a series of studies have been conducted in a few leading academic medical centers before new medical technologies are introduced to the market.
In many countries, industry influences the spread and use of medical technology. Manufacturers invest by paying for study fees, medical lectures, advertising, and recruiting influential famous doctors. There is an opportunity to make money, not the rigorous evaluation and testing that the team will pass. Surgeons promote certain medical techniques not because it is effective, but more likely because it is well paid.
4. Larger production and Unmonitored Quality
The commercial industry becomes a partner in improving medical technology. To some extent, they are responsible for the continuous advancement of technology in the medical field. But we must also be careful about its impact on product quality monitoring. We also need to make sure the benefits are worth it.
Medical technology is a wide field in this era and progressing day by day. No doubt advantages and disadvantages of medical technology in healthcare are somehow going along, but advantages have greater dominance over disadvantages as per several shreds of evidence. Disadvantages are so minor that they can be reduced with further advances, making medical technology completely safe.