smarter healthcare: how microsampling may transform science and medicine
by Neoteryx Microsampling on Nov 26, 2018 5:38:00 AM
Technology is changing everything in our world, especially healthcare. Scientists and healthcare professionals are working with new gadgets in more modern facilities that are wired for digital health, and even artificial intelligence (AI) — all aimed at making healthcare better, or smarter, than ever.
Advancements such as microsampling have made the process of blood collection easier and more comfortable. In many cases, remote microsampling devices can be used by patients and study participants at home to replace traditional methods of venipuncture.
Through microsampling, patients can collect their own blood samples at home, away from clinics and waiting rooms. Microsampling can be done as a remote process for blood collection at home, at work, or at school.
When a person refers to "getting blood work done" they typically envision visiting a lab or blood draw center where a phlebotomist will poke them in the arm with a needle to draw several tubes or vials of blood. The traditional venipuncture blood draw can cause stress and anxiety.
Remote microsampling, however, is a quick and minimally invasive process that can happen in virtually any comfortable setting with a simple finger-prick or arm-prick. The microsampling approach to blood collection may soon replace the traditional blood draw experience in a lab or clinic.
Here are some other groundbreaking innovations that are shaping the future of healthcare.
3D Organ Printing
With high-tech 3D printing, there is the possibility of creating not only drugs and prosthetics but also human organs and tissues. These organs and tissues will bring very exciting solutions and treatments for diseases, including chronic ones.
In the area of organ transplants, patients will be able to receive bioartificial organs needed for transplant instead of adding their names to a long waiting list of people hoping to receive human organs from donors. For instance, Vanderbilt University has an ongoing project to develop a bioartificial kidney for transplant.
Telemedicine & Decentralized Care
People who need medical care may be living in inaccessible areas or cannot easily travel to city centers to access healthcare services. Recent technological advancements have the potential to improve accessibility in these cases.
One of these advancements is telemedicine, which enables a virtual exchange of information between the patients and their medical providers. The providers may be able to ship out portable health kits and wearable devices for patients to use at home. These may include point-of-care devices for monitoring blood pressure, oxygen levels, heart rate, and more. Many of these devices will automatically send patient data to doctors via digital communications systems. Telemedicine enables the doctors to use phone calls, emails and video conferencing to monitor and treat their patients. This decentralized approach to healthcare will not only save on the cost of commuting but will maximize on patients’ comfort.
Health Information Technology
Clinics and hospitals are now adopting electronic information-keeping and doing away with the traditional paper record-keeping and hardcopy patient files. This is improving and streamlining the healthcare process. Doctors can easily trace the history of patients’ illnesses and treat them accordingly. This will reduce the inconsistencies in healthcare service, making the process easier for the doctors and patients alike.
Human Genomic Information
The treatment of some chronic diseases is gaining great benefits from the genetic sequencing of the patients. Personalized medicine is becoming a reality thanks to more advanced genetic information that enables doctors to determine the specific type of medication or treatment to apply for a particular patient, which brings more improved outcomes.
There is more to be hopeful about in the field of medicine as technology continues to advance, taking us closer to smarter healthcare.
Microsampling is just one example of what to look forward to in the coming years. Learn more here:
Image Credits: Trajan, Neoteryx, Shutterstock
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