It seems like almost every time we check out the news, we are hearing about a new medical technology that is making its way into healthcare. As we look towards the new year, here are some new technologies that nurses, therapists, and other healthcare professionals may soon be utilizing in 2019.
Insonation devices – Given the diagnostic capabilities of ultrasound devices, technology breakthroughs are now allowing them to be made smaller and with better imaging capabilities. Bedside ultrasound (insonation) may soon become the norm in patient care. Ultrasound devices small enough to fit on a caregiver’s finger will allow imaging technology to be used during patient examinations and treatment.
Clinical Mobility – This topic has come up in recent years, and it is clear that the buzz around clinical mobility is well earned. Many healthcare providers already see the impact of mobile devices such as handheld mobile computers, tablets, barcode scanners, and mobile printers. Physical Therapists are using tablets to not only track a patient's activities but also show them videos of proper techniques for movements or exercises while they are being treated. Nurses are utilizing mobile computing for easier access to electronic health records and other critical information. According to the latest findings of a Future of Healthcare Study, 80% of respondents reacted positively to increased access to mobility tools. Further, by 2022, 91% of nurses are expected to access EHR’s, and 88% will access lab diagnostics using a mobile device.
BMDI – Bedside medical device integration (BMDI) will be widely used to automatically upload clinical data directly from biomedical devices into a patient’s record in the clinical information system. These integrated devices might include fetal monitors, anesthesia machines, and other physiological monitors. Manual data entry by clinicians will soon become a thing of the past as data collection will be automated and available in real-time.
Ingestible Bluetooth Technology – You read that correctly, researchers are developing an ingestible capsule that is controlled with Bluetooth technology and can be used to deliver drugs, monitor and report on internal conditions, and can stay in a patient’s stomach for up to a month. Uses for these capsules are limited only by the imagination as they can be deployed to sense infections, allergic reactions, and other conditions and automatically release a drug in response.
Emerging Therapy Tech – From pressure-sensing socks to gait-correcting insoles and posture sensors, PT technology is constantly changing and will increase opportunities for improved treatments and patient engagement. Smart garment technology is being used to provide real-time monitoring and can help patients improve their gait and form by measuring cadence, foot landing and impact. A therapist can act upon the real-time data and provide immediate, hands-on assistance with the patient. New technology apps are popping up to be used on the patient’s own smartphone or mobile device. For example, Sway is a mobile balance test that uses the integrated motion sensors that are in any iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch device. Therapists can utilize this app when treating post-concussion patients or any patient that is experiencing a balance-related condition.
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