4 Innovations in Healthcare You Didn't Know About (But You Should!) in 2019

First Posted: Jul 30, 2019 11:47 AM EDT

Innovation is key to the healthcare industry. With costs running wild, we must rely on brilliant minds all over the world in order to stay healthy, manage our conditions and live longer and more fulfilling lives. 

This article shows 4 awesome innovations in healthcare that improve the quality of care for patients and make the jobs of practitioners much easier.

From chronic conditions like arthritis to severe and fatal illnesses like cancer, we are unfortunately reminded of why we rely so heavily on health plans day in and day out. As the population continues to increase, healthcare and innovation companies are challenged with the task to improve our overall well-being.

But sometimes, even the smallest of changes can make a huge difference to a patient's life. Innovation is the key. Without it, we wouldn't have access to procedures and devices used so readily in everyday life.

We have highlighted some of the best innovations in the healthcare sector below.

Hitachi Social Healthcare Innovation

Hitachi believes that social innovation has the potential to be huge for health, wellness and well-being. For those that do not have easy access to healthcare, social innovations will help to bridge the gap, giving them to care they need without having to travel for miles.

One innovation they have been working on is proton beam therapy (PBT). After working with university researchers and cancer treatment centres, these systems have reached a point where oddly shaped tumors can be targeted without damaging any of the nearby healthy tissue.

The beams can also be tracked in real-time so that the patient's respiratory movements remain uninterrupted during the treatment.

The most significant development of them all is that PBT does not cause distress to the patient at all. Considering that cancer patients have to go through a lot when fighting the disease, this marks a major step in the battle against cancer.

Here's an extract of a statement issued by Hitachi addressing the EU about the future of healthcare:

"The future of Healthcare is being transformed across the globe. In the last 5 years, the focus has been on integrated services and adding value around the product or device. What has emerged now in 2015 and will continue into 2020 and beyond is the digital experience of the patient. This is crucial as the patient of today is different compared to 15-20 years ago."

Omron HeartGuide Wearable Blood Pressure Monitor

Towards the end of 2017, Omron secured clearance by the FDA for HeartGuide, the much-anticipated wearable blood pressure monitor that comes as a smartwatch.

It has already been well-received, winning various awards such as Engadget's Best Wearable Award, Tom's Guide's Best Health Award and Techlicious' Top Picks of CES Award for its innovation in heart health technology. Omron said this via social media: 

"We are honored to be recognized for our advancements in health technology and our mission to eliminate heart attacks and strokes."

There are many reasons to get excited about the HeartGuide technology. 

For starters, this smartwatch doesn't come with any unsightly hoses, wires or cuffs - something that comes naturally to traditional wristwatches. 

The best thing about the Omron HeartGuide wearable blood pressure monitor is that the flexible synthetic band can be inflated and deflated with ease. It will also keep its shape on your wrist so taking blood-pressure readings is simple. Most importantly, HeartGuide is incredibly accurate. According to Omron representatives, the readings are just as accurate as the popular upper-arm sphygmomanometers.

This is great news for the more than 103 million people in the US that suffers from issues relating to blood pressure like hypertension. HeartGuide has the potential to save people from strokes, heart attacks and heart failure, simply though making changes to lifestyle. HeartGuide comes with features such as a step counter and a fitness tracker to help make these changes, among many others.

HeartGuide also works wonders at night. As you sleep, it turns into a blood pressure monitor, as well as being able to keep an eye on other metrics to give you a better insight into your health. It has the heart rate monitor and sleep quality tracker to do this. Omron was also recently named one of the best smart pedometers of the year.

At-Home Health Testing Kit

While on the topic of personal healthcare, imawareTM has created a at-home health testing kit to further help you keep an eye on your wellbeing. 

With telemedicine and wearables proving so popular, this latest innovation in healthcare certainly lives up to the billing. It gives you a lot of important medical information and advice, all of which is verified by doctors so it's safe to use, as well as being clinically accurate and reliable.

The imawareTM kit is designed for both initial disease screening as well as ongoing monitoring of treatment effectiveness. 

The at-home health testing kit runs multiple biomarkers in each test to provide a comprehensive indication of the likelihood of disease prevalence. The company tests for celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis and has recently announced additional tests for heart disease, sexually transmitted diseases, general wellness and prostate cancer. 

And it only takes a few minutes so you don't have to waste a lot of time waiting (and worrying) for results to come back, giving you the freedom to take a test whenever you like.

PSINET - The Homeless HIV Algorithm

The School of Social Work and School of Engineering at USC have teamed up to create PSINET - an algorithm that uses artificial intelligence to help agencies identify the best person to prevent HIV spreading across a homeless community.

Traditionally, agencies rely on educating a select group in the hope that word spreads through their social circles. However, this is not a very reliable method as there's no guarantee that the information feeds back to the right people.

Therefore, the researchers had to think of a way to improve its success. Here's how they did it.

First, the researchers used a local agency in Los Angeles, namely My Friend's Place, to map out the friendships of homeless teens. Each person in that friendship group is represented by a node, with links between each node representing a connection. 

PSINET looks that this network of nodes and, after running through all the possibilities for the person with the widest reach, chooses the best person for the job. This person becomes the leader to teach their friends and network about HIV prevention.

While PSINET is currently used for homeless youth, it's hoped that it can be used in other fields to improve the efficiency of spreading information through a network.

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