In today’s world, modern medicine is a rapidly developing industry. Each year we continue to see medical breakthroughs, advancements, and improvements. AllPhysiciansJobs has compiled some of the most notable medical advancements of 2018, as well as other progressions we expect to see in the coming years.
Medical Advancements of 2018: Notable Progressions
Improved Treatment for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can be a potentially dangerous sleeping disorder where your breathing repeatedly starts and stops. The most common symptoms of sleep apnea are loud snoring, gasping for air during sleep, awakening with dry mouth, and episodes when you stop breathing. These symptoms can be observed by another person or professional. The current solution to this sleeping disorder is a CPAP machine. (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Machine) However, this device is extremely bulky and uncomfortable to use. The machine works by blowing air into your nose via a mask that is put around your face, thus keeping your airways open all night long. This device has received widespread dissatisfaction from patients prompting rapid improvements.
In October of 2017, the FDA approved a less invasive technique called the “Remedē Technique.” This modern sleep apnea advancement is an implantable device that activates a nerve responsible for sending signals to the diaphragm to stimulate continual breathing. This device will help patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea. The Remedē Technique is a smaller sized device and is also implanted in the upper chest area.
Drones Will have a Larger Role in Medicine
Drones are also continuing to have an increasingly important role in medicine. As drone technology continues to become more sophisticated, it is becoming increasingly utilized in the healthcare field. Drones are helping deliver medical services and supplies in remote locations. In fact, a 2016 start-up company is at the forefront of the medical utilization of drones. Zipline, a California based company, receives text orders from a remote clinic or hospital location for medical products. Zipline packages these materials in minutes and sends supplies to the specific location via drone.
Development of Artificial Pancreas’ for Diabetic Patients
Another medical advancement of 2018 was the development of an artificial pancreas’ for patients with diabetes. Diabetes is caused by insufficient production of insulin to the pancreas, ultimately leading to excess sugar in your bloodstream. In May of 2017, the “Hybrid Close-Loop Insulin Delivery System” was the first artificial pancreas system. An artificial pancreas is a system that closely mimics the glucose-regulating function to that of a normal, healthy, and functioning pancreas. Computer controlled algorithms monitor the bodies CGM (continuous glucose monitoring system) levels and insulin infusion pump. Together these two devices work in unison to release proper amounts of glucose into the body. These devices are still new to the market, thus they are not widely used. However, we can strongly expect that artificial devices for diabetic patients will be a significant medical advancement of 2018 and beyond.
We’ve already seen this year just how deadly various diseases can be. Whether it’s MRSA, or the newest strain of Pneumonia, the bacterial diseases are responsible for thousands of deaths every single year. Luckily, researchers might have uncovered a new way to combat the issue. A newly synthesized form of the antibiotic teixobactin could be at the frontier of battling drug-resistant bacterial strains. While commercial use could still be years away, it’s important to keep an eye on this advancement. You just might be prescribing synthesized antibiotics in the near future.
The Emergence of Telehealth
This is certainly something that could impact you and your facility in the near future. When it comes to medical advancements of 2018, the growing importance of telehealth could be the biggest advancement of the year. Due to an increase in mobile technology and consumer demand, hospitals are getting ready for widespread adoption in 2018. Reportedly, 90 percent of healthcare executives have or are building a telehealth program. The previous way of thinking was that healthcare professionals simply can’t provide the proper care if they’re not meeting face to face. However, studies have shown that telehealth has a positive impact, especially for patients in rural areas or those who can’t travel easily.
Blockchain in Healthcare
If you take a look at the medical advancements of 2018, you’ll most likely stumble across the concept of blockchains. What is a blockchain you ask? Well, it’s a little confusing, but we’ll try to explain. Effectively a blockchain is a kind of independent, transparent, and permanent database coexisting in multiple locations and shared by a community. This type of technology would essentially replace EHRs, creating a centralized and more secure database for patient information. This advancement is becoming more and more attractive as the amount of cyber-theft incidents continues to rise. Many users also believe that it helps in communication, which is always an issue for many facilities.
Male Birth Control
One of the most controversial medical advancements of 2018 has been the introduction of a successful male contraceptive. Although it’s still in the early stages, the signs have been positive for the new technology. Research from the Washington School of Medicine stated that the pill reduced testosterone production and halted sperm production. While it still has a long way until it can hit the market, this is the first time that we’ve seen a successful male contraceptive in the early stages of production.
Faster Post-Surgery Recovery
Another medical advancement of 2018 that we have seen take off is the improvement of post-surgery recoveries. The surgical process is often known to be a tedious and involved process. No eating or drinking before the procedure. Having a restricted diet after the procedure. Being prescribed post-procedure pain medication and potentially feeling tired or groggy. However, in 2018 and beyond we can expect to see hospitals implementing changes to improve the post-surgical recovery period. The ERAS (Enhanced Recovery After Surgery) procedure is a modern recovery method. This recovery protocol helps to focus on minimizing postoperative pain, decrease hospital length of stay, and reduce procedure complications.
Physicians, can you think of other major medical advancements of 2018 that are not listed? Comment them below!