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Annually, billions of dollars are poured into innovation in the healthcare sector. And while many of the ideas and concepts never amount to much, there are more than a few transformational ideas that make it to market each year. Pausing to highlight some of these technologies is helpful in understanding where the industry has been and where it’s going.

3 Innovations to Keep an Eye On

The unique thing about innovation in the healthcare sector is that it takes a while for an idea to go from prototype to widely accepted. There are a plethora of testing and approval processes from regulatory bodies and individual medical facilities before adoption can take place.

With that being said, here are a few innovations currently making waves as we prepare to enter 2018.

1. Wearable Devices

Wearable devices have received a lot of attention over the past few years, but largely for recreational purposes – like tracking steps and being able to accept phone calls and text messages. What most people outside of healthcare don’t realize is that wearable devices offer a ton of promise for monitoring and managing health conditions.

One of the best (and most recent) examples is the Motio HW by Neogia. This connected bracelet is designed for people with sleep apnea – a dangerous sleeping condition that’s been linked to hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and other issues – and is said to be the first medical wearable device that prevents, diagnoses, and monitors sleep apnea. It does so by collecting biometric data and processing it through a proprietary algorithm.

Other medical wearable devices track things like glucose, blood pressure, weight, temperature, respiration, hydration, and even brain activity. The possibilities are endless.

2. Advanced Training Tools

Over the last couple of years, there’s been a rise in hands-on-training in healthcare education. This is leading to better-prepared doctors and physicians coming out of medical school.

Companies like 3D4Medical are using augmented reality to help doctors and med students learn about anatomy and surgical procedures without having to actually cut open a cadaver. Another neat tool is EchoPixel, which renders patient specific anatomy in a virtual reality format that allows doctors to get a better grasp on what’s happening and how they can best treat patients on a case-by-case basis.

While virtual and augmented reality is great, sometimes doctors and medical students need to be hands-on. Thankfully there are some advances in this niche as well. WorldPoint is a leader in this area. Their line of products includes ECG simulators and manikin simulators.

3. Personalization Platforms

You can’t discuss innovation in healthcare without looking at the way advanced software is helping healthcare providers offer more customer-centric experiences for patients.

For example, SAP has a line of solutions that deliver value-based, personalized care through digital transformation. These solutions do things like increase faster response times for patient scheduling, decrease use of preventative antibiotics, encourage better health and wellness, and empower caregivers with personalized, real-time information to increase successful patient outcomes.

Constant Innovation Pushes Healthcare Forward

Nowhere is innovation more important than in healthcare. Innovation in healthcare isn’t just fun and exciting – it actually saves lives. Over the years, we’ve seen how significant advances in electronic health records, telemedicine, and wireless communication have been. Today, we’re seeing a new set of technology emerge.

As we prepare to enter 2018, it’s imperative that those within the industry – and even those on the outside looking in – familiarize themselves with what’s happening and stay abreast of promising innovations like the ones featured in this article.

You never know when a new piece of technology – or even the knowledge that it exists – could improve a chronic condition or save a patient’s life.

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