Top Innovations in Healthcare

Medical research and resulting healthcare innovations have transformed medicine and saved lives for decades. At the same time, investment in medical research means jobs and a boost to the economy. Healthcare innovations take many forms, and are changing the landscape of modern healthcare in the United States.

Here are some of the top innovations advancing healthcare right now.

Data Analysis

Nurse and elderly man spending time together

Image via Flickr by myfuture.com

One big innovation technology has provided in healthcare is data analysis. By compiling large data sets and analyzing information regarding diagnoses, treatment, and medication, gaps in case management can be identified and conclusions made about the most effective course of care. This in turn helps streamline healthcare efforts and improves quality of care.

Focus on Wellness

There is also a renewed focus on wellness. Wearable technologies have given rise to devices that help track wellness efforts, like the number of steps one takes in a day. This helps turn many people’s focus towards staying well instead of getting better after being ill. Businesses are taking notice as well. As healthcare costs rise, both employers and insurance companies are looking for ways to reduce long-term costs by keeping people healthier — and many are offering financial incentives to encourage participation.

Needle-Free Diabetes Care

As more people have been diagnosed with diabetes in recent years, healthcare innovation has turned toward reducing the pain of diabetes self-care. Glucose testing and insulin shots introduce risks for infection at puncture sites. Continuous glucose pumps help reduce those issues, but do not eliminate them. New healthcare technology uses a transdermal monitor to measure blood glucose without breaking the skin.

Remote Healthcare

Technology has also made remote healthcare a possibility by connecting rural and otherwise medically underserved patients while assisting medical staff to assess emergencies and triage care. This includes having vitals monitored without human intervention, using imaging to receive expert opinions across miles in minutes, and using monitoring to detect emergencies early.

Reduced Biopsies

Innovations are also being made in the diagnosis of melanoma, a form of skin cancer. Melanoma can be deadly, but one of the biggest warning signs — misshapen or discolored moles — are often completely harmless, while the surgical biopsies used to test them are invasive. Today, healthcare providers can diagnose which moles may be harmful by using a small handheld tool that allows for the multispectral analysis of tissue morphology. It takes less time, produces fewer scars, and costs less.

Electronic Pain Relief

Healthcare technology has also introduced electronic pain relievers. For instance, people who have migraines tend to have issues with a facial nerve bundle called the sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG). One new healthcare innovation involves implanting a device in the patient’s mouth in the upper gums on the side of the head that gets the most migraines. When that person feels a headache starting, he or she can place a handheld remote controller on the outside of the cheek to eliminate the headache.

Innovations in healthcare are often driven by developments in technology, like the role of big data, but sometimes technology develops to answer common health issues.

For more information please visit USC’s Executive Master of Health Administration Online program.