So much of the last year and more has been focused on what we don’t have. The hardships that we have had to overcome. The restrictions that have made it harder for people to see their family and loved ones, the potential issues with the vaccines that are finally rolling out around the world, and the supply problems with PPE for the health care staff that have been on the frontline of the pandemic since early 2020.
As we emerge out of the darkness of the last year and more, we should start looking ahead with a little more optimism. To be sure, caution is still sensible, as we have seen just how much trouble a new variant can cause even in a nation with a high vaccination rate. But it is important to remember that we are continuing to see the healthcare sector take huge strides forward thanks to amazing advances in technology. Some of these will be familiar to anyone who has had to step foot in a doctor’s office over the last couple of years, let alone a hospital. Some are still on the cutting edge, soon to be introduced into the world at large to make a real impact. Some still feel like the stuff of science fiction, hardly imaginable to the older generation who may need these advances the most.
So, let’s take a look at some of the incredible advances of recent years and look ahead at what is still to come.
Remote Healthcare Could Change Accessibility For All
It doesn’t matter where in the world you are; the fact is that there are always going to be challenges when it comes to making sure that the people who need treatment can actually get it. In some cases, it is a matter of life and death, as the tools or expertise required to conduct a life-saving operation could be out of reach of the patient. A long journey might put them at even greater risk, presenting the doctors with an impossible choice. In others, it could be the difference between spotting a serious condition early enough to avoid extensive treatment and missing it until that is the only option left.
Remote healthcare is a catch-all term that covers a broad range of different game-changing options. Let’s start with the simplest: a virtual check-up. We are starting to see these occur more and more frequently, and the pandemic definitely gave it a nudge into becoming routine. It was safer for doctors and patients to visit remotely, and the more frequently this occurs, the more effective they will become.
But it’s not just about Facetiming your personal physician to talk them through what’s troubling you. Advances in robotics mean that surgeons are able to conduct complicated surgical procedures remotely, and as 5G becomes more and more reliable, we will start to see these operations being performed from thousands of miles away.
Protein Expression Advances Continue To Dazzle
The expression and production of proteins has so many different purposes, but its role in medicine, healthcare and other life sciences is so fundamental as to almost be overlooked when it comes to thinking about future developments. Recombinant gene expression is a building block of our learning, and the technology for this continues to advance at an amazing rate. Of course, it is absolutely vital that the right kind of host is chosen for the expression of the protein.
Pichia pastoris is one of the most popular choices for this role because, among many other reasons, it is non-toxic and non-pathogenic, it allows for secretion into the medium for easier processing, and it not only produces similar proteins to the ones found in mammals, but the FDA has approved several of the protein products made in it. One of the most notable recent developments to come about as a result of the use of Pichia pastoris expression is an insulin medication for diabetes sufferers. To learn more about how to express Pichia pastoris, Bio-Technical Resources offer a wealth of information. With 57 years of experience in the industry, they develop new strains and processes as well as offering analytical support.
VR Offers A New Perspective
While robotics and 5G provide the ability to perform surgery from thousands of miles away, virtual reality is changing the way that doctors and medical professionals can examine and diagnose a patient. It will, in essence, allow the doctor to see inside the patient. But while some of that technology may still be a little way off, VR is already being used to train doctors.
One of the most remarkable examples was a program that allows young medical students who are still in their early 20s to experience what it’s like to be in the body of an elderly patient. They experienced the kind of visual, auditory and physical impairment in a way that simply one of not have been possible before.
AI Will Make Diagnoses Quicker
There are very few areas which AI technology has not revolutionized over the last few years, and medicine is next on the list. One of the biggest advantages of AI is that it once it has been programmed to understand its environment and what it is looking for, it can work through huge amounts of data and identify patterns incredibly quickly. This will be particularly important for the swift diagnoses over different forms of cancer, as the technology will be able to spot warning signs.
You Can Take Your Healthcare With You
We have all got used to wearing a Fitbit or equivalent exercise monitoring hardware on our wrists when we go for a jog. But the cutting edge of this technology goes further than telling us what our heartrate is. It will act as a portable alert system for people with serious conditions, telling them when it’s time to call their doctor and alerting their healthcare professional to any warning signs. It will be able to tell a remote observer if the wearer is following their treatment program. As more and more retail giants enter the healthcare space, we can expect to see this technology advance quickly.