The future of health technology

Over mankind, technology has connected people across the world and reduced manufacturing costs in many industries. Medical technology is no exception to this trend: thanks to it traditional repositories of information and expensive diagnostic methods are rapidly finding a global reach and enabling both patients and practitioners to make better use of information and provide higher quality treatments.

This infographic we have found on the web is an exercise in speculating about which individual technologies are likely to affect the scenario of health in the coming decades. Arranged in six broad areas, the forecast covers a multitude of research and developments that are likely to disrupt the future of healthcare. According to it, cryogenics to all-out life extension, robot healthcare and 3D-printed synthetic organs, among others, will be very real before too long.

envisioning-the-future-of-health

What it is the most interesting is that much of it is already beginning to take shape in some form or another. In an article at MEDCITYnews site Stephanie Baum features nine startups that embody some of the disruptive healthcare technology included in the awesome infographic.

Regarding to diagnostics, DxUpClose Inc. is developing a point-of-care, hand-held diagnostic device to screen a fluid sample for specific pathogenic bacteria. It identifies the bacteria if it can or counts the bacteria and then does an antibiotic sensitivity test on them within an hour.

What could be more futuristic than growing skin from plants? Eqalix is working with three Philadelphia institutions to grow synthetic skin from soybean protein. It could be applied to treat diabetic foot ulcers, bed sores, trauma and burns.

People who have been paralyzed from spinal cord injuries can already benefit from Ekso Bionics exoskeletons which rely on electrical motors move the frame’s joints and mimic the actions of muscles. The technology has been licensed to Lockheed Martin for soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Cryonics is not just about plot lines for movies like Sleeper. Arigos Biomedical is developing high-speed cooling methods for reversible, organ and whole-organism cryopreservation.

Several startups are pushing telemedicine forward. CellScope Inc. combines telemedicine and mobile technology to make it easier to diagnose ear infections remotely. Its at-home diagnostic system uses an optical attachment for a cellphone with an app. The system converts a mobile phone into a mobile otoscope.

Do you know any other startup company developing disruptive healthcare technology? Do you agree with the futurist map? What technologies do you think would impact healthcare most?

Lessons Learned:

  • Healthcare and technology are two of the most dynamic industries in our society.
  • Smart, high –technologies are already improving and reshaping medical care and will continue doing it in the future.
  • Healthcare is also moving online towards a “web 2.0 style” model.
  • Healthcare is going to be all about information and how to use it to change lives.
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