It might sound like the stuff of science fiction movies, but implantable technology is closer to reality than you might think. We already use wearable medical devices, but scientists and doctors are working on mechanisms that are inserted inside the body to monitor health conditions and treat illnesses.
This technology could greatly improve the healthcare system, ranging from a drastic reduction in hospital visits to 24-hour monitoring care that doesn’t require a nurse, to more effective pain management.
Implantable technology is already advancing, and this means that the devices are shrinking. For example, pacemakers used to be the size of hockey pucks, but within two to three years time, there will be heart devices used that are no larger than a vitamin pill.
Here are five ways in which this implantable technology might revolutionize the healthcare industry:
1. Reduce hospital visits
Soon, patients will be able to self-monitor their conditions with the help of implantable devices. By tracking their vital signs and other important numbers at home, this will reduce the need for doctor visits, lab work, and 24-hour home caregivers. In fact, earlier this year, the FDA approved the use of the CardioMEMS HF System from St. Jude Medical. This wireless technology has aided doctors in managing heart conditions and has significantly reduced the number of hospital admissions.
2. Improve monitoring of chronic conditions
This technology could offer a huge breakthrough with how patients with chronic conditions monitor their health. For example, patients with diabetes could use an implantable mechanism to monitor their glucose levels. This will offer continuous and real-time feedback, and may even be able to immediately inject the appropriate amount of insulin. At this point, scientists are still working on advancements in batteries to make these devices last longer and their chips to become more powerful. When that happens, this will be an invaluable technology to millions of patients.
3. Decrease painkiller addictions
The industry is working on implantable technology that is attached to the spinal cord and is able to intercept pain signals then cancel them out before they reach the brain. This will be a far more effective and healthy way to manage pain. It will be able to reduce or eliminate the addictiveness and other side effects that come with the pain medication we use today.
4. Treat Tumors
This particular technology is still 15 to 20 years away, but eventually the industry is hoping to create microscopic nanobots that can aid in treating tumors. They will move through a patient’s veins magnetically and travel to the site of the tumor than attack it with doses of medication. Some of these nanobots could be injected into the body, but some of them might also simply be ingested in pill form.
5. Transmit Data to doctors
Implantable technology could not only be used to help monitor and treat conditions in a patient’s body, but partnered with other innovations, could transform communication with doctors and hospitals. When connected to something like wearable wristbands or smartphone apps, an implantable device could send data to doctors via the cloud. This will give healthcare professionals real-time data without a trip to the doctor’s office.
“There’s huge potential here,” said John Moore, an analyst at Chilmark Research. “The future is only limited by our ability to create these systems that are safe, user-friendly and convenient for the physician and patient.”
At the Encinitas Nursing and Rehabilitation Center we take care to be at the forefront of the newest technology. If you would like to discuss the future of health care further or have any other questions about skilled nursing and rehabilitation, please don’t hesitate to contact us at http://encinitasnursingandrehab.com or call us at (760) 753-6423.