Alternate therapies for pain. The use of artificial intelligence in healthcare. Expanded window to treat stroke patients. These are some of the innovations that will enhance healing and change healthcare this year, according to a distinguished panel of doctors and researchers.
The list of up-and-coming technologies was selected by a panel of Cleveland Clinic physicians and scientists, led by Michael Roizen, M.D., Chief Wellness Officer at the Ohio-headquartered organization.
(Dr. Michael Roizen, M.D., Chief Wellness Officer)
“Healthcare is ever changing and we anticipate that innovations such as cancer immunotherapy and pharmacogenomics will significantly transform the medical field and improve care for patients at Cleveland Clinic and throughout the world,” said Dr. Roizen.
Below are 4 notable innovations anticipated in 2019, from an original list of 10:
1. The Advent of AI in Healthcare
Once thought as a futuristic threat to humankind, artificial intelligence is now a part of everyday life. In healthcare, AI is changing the game with its applications in decision support, image analysis and patient triage. Today, artificial intelligence is helping physicians make smarter decisions at the point of care, improving the ease and accuracy of viewing patient scans and reducing physician burnout. For instance, machine learning algorithms have the ability to highlight problem areas on images, aiding in the screening process and quickly making sense of the mountains of data within a physician’s EMR system. With AI’s continued integration into healthcare, caring for patients has become a matter of working smarter, not harder.
2. Patient-Specific Products Achieved with 3D Printing
Utilizing 3D printing technology, medical devices can now be matched to the exact specifications of a patient. Designed to be more compatible with an individual’s natural anatomy, devices modeled from patient-specific dimensions have shown greater acceptance by the body, increased comfort and improved performance outcomes. The versatility provided by 3D printing gives medical practitioners the ability to provide patients the most advanced care, while simultaneously minimizing the risk of complication in patients that meet specific medical requirements. Currently, the most significant work in this space includes external prosthetics, cranial/orthopedic implants, and customized airway stents for diseases narrowing the airway. Work in prosthetics and other bodily implants is also gaining speed with some cleared for the commercial market. The technology has also been found helpful in surgical planning. To date, the technology has been used for many complicated heart surgeries, and even the Cleveland Clinic’s most recent total face transplant. With its widening healthcare applications, 3D printing is increasing the attention to detail in patient care.
3. Virtual and Mixed Reality for Medical Education
Virtual and mixed reality involve the use of computer technology to create simulated and hybrid environments. Popular for their gaming applications, virtual and mixed reality, with their futuristic affect, never fail to dazzle audiences. But VR/MR technology is much more than a game. These reality systems have recently caught the eye of healthcare professionals eager to sharpen their skills. Now popular for medical education, VR/MR programs provide simulation training that serves to enhance traditional medical schooling. With this immersive style of learning, VR/MR training appeals to all types of learners: audio, visual and kinesthetic. Education via simulation is a productive step toward the system’s most adept and confident healthcare providers.
4. Innovation in Robotic Surgery
Most surgeries performed today are the shortest and least invasive that science will allow. This adaptation in surgical methodology is brought about in part by the integration of robotics. Robots in the operating room provide surgeons with guidance for extreme precision in surgery. Today, surgical platforms are highly advanced and are being used anywhere from spine to endovascular procedures. Shortened recovery time and limited pain after surgery are just a few of the patient benefits seen with minimally invasive robotized surgery. Continued advancement in the field has led to more precise and effective surgeries with improved surgical outcomes.
The Top 10 Medical Innovations of 2019 were announced at the 2018 Medical Innovation Summit. Now in its 16th year, the event is organized by Cleveland Clinic Innovations, the development and commercialization arm of Cleveland Clinic.