27 Apr The MedTech movement: enhancing healthcare with technology
The world has seen some remarkable developments in healthcare delivery over the last 70 years. In 1980, the first clinical whole-body MRI scan took place and now helps healthcare professionals monitor potentially life-threatening conditions every day. In 1954, the first successful organ transplant took place and, almost 70 years on, more than 150,000 organ transplantation surgeries take place annually.
More recently, the speed at which the Covid-19 vaccine was rolled out demonstrates how a connected world can combine knowledge, science, and technology to battle fast spreading diseases in a matter of months.
Managing the load
These clinical breakthroughs are helping people to live longer, healthier lives. The global average life expectancy has increased by approximately 22 years since 1950, allowing many people to live far into their 70s, and sometimes much longer.
Although an undisputable advantage of modern-day medicine, a growing and ageing population means healthcare systems are required to treat far more people than previously. If people are living longer, they are more likely to develop conditions associated with old age, such as heart disease or leg ulcers – many of which require frequent and ongoing medical attention. Slowly but surely, healthcare services’ time, money and resources are spread thinner.
By 2050, the global population is expected to reach 9.7 billion, risking healthcare systems becoming completely overwhelmed. Smart solutions are needed to tackle the burden of managing the health of our growing ageing population, as well as the increase in conditions associated with old age.
Unlocking the key to recovery
Innovation in medical technology (MedTech) has the potential to transform healthcare delivery by offering faster, more efficient, and cost-effective treatment options. For instance, Sky Medical Technology is a UK-based medical device manufacturer that has developed a neuro electrostimulation technology – OnPulse™ – into its leading medical device: geko™.
The geko™ device is a wearable the size of a wristwatch that is worn at the knee. It works by sending short, painless electrical pulses down the leg – one every second – to gently stimulate the calf muscles. This results in increased blood flow – an outcome that offers a wealth of health benefits.
The device is currently used around the world in a variety of medical settings, including for the prevention of life-threatening blood clots and to enhance recovery following orthopaedic and transplantation surgery.
Innovate, implement, improve
Recovery is an area of healthcare that absorbs a lot of time, money and resources from healthcare services. MedTech such as the geko™ device allows patients to recover quicker, freeing up hospital beds, and enabling patients to be treated sooner. Implementing MedTech into treatment plans can ease the strain on healthcare systems, as well as relieve pressure from medical staff – many of whom face constant stress and burn out.
The short-term objective should be to encourage innovation in healthcare in all forms through investment, clinical trials and public endorsement. This will help future generations live longer and healthier lives while protecting our global healthcare systems.