Medical care is one of the most fundamental human rights, and we often take it for granted. However, as time has gone by, the recent pandemic has shown just how much we have actually neglected it. The medical field has gone through an intense period the last century. On some fronts we have done strides that are worth memory, eradicated plagues, created more sophisticated means for people with handicaps to be able to limit their disabilities. On the other hand, we have also seen public healthcare come under attack, nations cutting funds to health in favor of economy or military investments and certain issues, such as mental health, be disregarded and misunderstood.
Today however, we will discuss the innovations and other good news in the medical field, starting with:
Actual God Damn Robots
That is right, you heard me! We have actual god damn robots in medicare now. We are talking off course about KARMI-BOT, a robot that is used in India to help with the pandemic or, to better quote Indian Express in their article: "As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread in India and across the world, Kochi-based startup Asimov Robotics has developed a robot that can be deployed in hospitals to ease pressure on the medical staff. The three-wheeled robot can carry food, medical and clinical consumables and navigate freely in the hospitals. The robot has been developed in 15 days by a team of seven people".
But that might not be the first time you heard of small robots in Hospitals. A while back they had the "conference" robots, so that doctors could speak with patients when they are either super contagious or when the doctors were out of town. However, robots are getting crazy advanced.
Picture by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash
From KARMI-BOT and India lets take a trip to Italy where, according to an article by Reuters informs us of Tommy! "Tommy is one of six new robots helping flesh-and-blood doctors and nurses care for coronavirus patients at the Circolo Hospital in Varese, a city in the northern Lombardy region that is the epicenter of the outbreak in Italy. “It’s like having another nurse without problems related to infection,” said Doctor Francesco Dentali, director of intensive care at the hospital."" the article reads.
What it does is essentially monitor the patients, allows them to record messages and deliver them to nurses and doctors, minimizing the contact they have with infected patients. Though this might sound cold, remember that 66 people from the medical staff have lost their lives due to exposure.
Image by Luke Chesser on Unsplash
That's right! Due to the pandemic and the many nations locking down in quarantine, the need for telemedicine became almost a necessity. In an article by Jane E. Brody of the New York Times reports: "Even if no other good for health care emerges from the coronavirus crisis, one development — the incorporation of telemedicine into routine medical care — promises to be transformative. Using technology that already exists and devices that most people have in their homes, medical practice over the internet can result in faster diagnoses and treatments, increase the efficiency of care and reduce patient stress."
As a very stressed out and anxious person by default, despite my general ease around Hospitals due to my condition, I have to admit that having the option to be able to just have a video conference with the doctor for minor appointments is refreshing.
Telemedicine appointments where patients at home transmit diagnostic data to a caregiver is just one scenario. Many schools, workplaces, and remote clinics have someone with medical training on staff who can conduct diagnostic tests and pass them on to a remote doctor. In this article by FastCompany they mention such scenarios. With apps and remote connectivity on the rise, investors are more interested in making medicare a more remote endeavor.
This would mean more comfortable examinations, faster responses, linked data between home and hospital devices and off course, faster and easier communication with doctors.
Another thing that has been coming more on the forefront is the matter of mental health. Finally starting to get the attention it deserved, not only are people keeping more an open mind about it as time goes by, but there have also been certain innovations to bring psychiatry into the lives of those who need it. As CNBC reports "Investors are banking on the growing therapeutic app market, too. Calm is still the only mental health company with a valuation north of $1 billion but other start-ups are fast on its heels. This quarter, as coronavirus decimated the global economy, mental health firms raised a record $576 million — 60 percent more than any previous quarter, according to CB Insights."
With more apps focusing on bringing help to those with mental health issues, it is very refreshing to see that investors are taking an interest in bringing help to people that need it.
Image By the National Cancer Institute on Unsplash
Although there is still much work to be done, especially in the mental health sector, the new innovations on remote health care and AI give new tools to healthcare professionals to tackle the ever changing future of epidemiology and mental health. Hopefully with investors taking an interest on the field and the renewed interest of the public to be better informed (and better taken care of), we can hope for a better healthier future.