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Lasers and VR and BioSensors – Oh My!

Business Insider recently posted a short video on the medical advancements changing lives. It is expected that in as little as 5 to 10 years, the lives of many treated patients in the United States and around the world will have improved with little adjustments to the way their healthcare is approached.

Among the most promising innovations are the benefits of laser technologies which stem back to the creation of the laser in the early 1960’s. Besides its sci-fi use by supervillains in splitting a victim in half with ultra-precision, laser practices have paved the way to a better quality of life in medical fields such as ophthalmology (laser eye surgery), ENT and urology, and laser radiation to very specific and targeted regions in need of treatment. Recently, ScienceDaily published a new use for lasers called, “Laser-Sonic Scanner” which is meant to scan the breast and detect cancerous tissue or tumors in the area scanned. This new method is safer since the breast would no longer be subjected through the painful process of the mammogram, and the patient would not be put through harmful x-rays. The laser scan procedure takes about 15 seconds per breast and the first tests performed show a higher accuracy in detection of women younger than 40 than regular mammograms.

The second emerging trend is the Virtual Reality use in healthcare. 3D in particular is being used in different parts of patient care, but the bottom line is to distract the patient for a few moments while some painful or feared procedures take place. The studies conducted at Florida Atlantic University are showing amazing results in pediatrics where children are given a VR set before receiving vaccines or injections. The studies conducted onsite showed a 94.1% decrease in fear and actual pain registered.

The final product that is gaining traction due to its ease of use and successful trials are biosensors. Biosensor technology is fairly new but is minimally invasive to patients that need certain things monitored without the need of keeping self-track logs or a hospital stay to monitor. In reality, the earliest successful biosensor was the mercury thermometer, although later discontinued. Biosensors are sensitive to changes and can better track manageable diseases as such. It is expected that besides the use of telehealth and telemedicine in rural areas, biosensors will be another addition to virtual communications between patient and physician. Wearable devices have also proven safer and more affordable than some lab-based equipment.

By the year 2025 it is expected that emerging hospitals and healthcare systems will have invested a good amount in these and other advancements. With the changes that are improving how we live and manage our lives with or without existing conditions, researchers and developers are finding ways to make living in these times that much easier. Honorable mentions include armless crutches, rapid absorbing sponges to treat open wounds, microscopic vacuums to alleviate and treat both clots and even permanently open airways in patients with asthma are all ongoing and in testing phases. One of Population Health Management’s best strategy for success is small advancements that make a big difference.

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LinkedIn: Business Insider – 13 medical advances that are changing lives.

ScienceDaily – Laser-sonic scanner aims to replace mammograms for finding breast cancer–+ScienceDaily%29

ScienceDaily – Virtual reality headsets significantly reduce children’s fear of needles–+ScienceDaily%29

US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

News in Health – Biosensors and Your Health