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7 Technological Advancements Coming to Medicine
  • 02 Apr 2024
  • Medical School

Medicine is a constantly evolving industry. From the latest prescriptions being developed all the way through to how we monitor patients, technology changes at a rapid rate.

As aspiring medics, it’s extremely valuable to know and understand the latest advancements in medicine as you can demonstrate you’re a well-informed and eager candidate. Alternatively, discussing future technologies within a speciality you’re interested in, whether that be the latest tech in surgery, or AI’s impact on patient treatment plans, discussing the technologies of tomorrow can turn you into a top candidate!

Here are a few innovations we expect to be coming to medicine in the coming years, so make sure you use one of these in your next interview!

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

1. For Treatment

AI is the latest technology trend sweeping across all industries. In medicine, AI and machine learning are being used for a variety of reasons, one of them being treatment plans.

AI can quickly and accurately scan millions of pages of medical records, research, etc and develop personalised treatment plans for every patient. As a result, patients can receive quicker treatment, reducing wait times in hospitals whilst minimising the possibility of a misdiagnosis of a patient or reducing the chance of an adverse reaction to treatment.

The prominent rise of AI is a hot topic that could definitely come up in either a medical school or job interview, so be sure to keep your eye on the latest AI developments in medicine!

2. For Diagnosis 

Meanwhile, a deep-learning algorithm developed by health-tech company is enabling the early detection of lung cancer. The firm says a study demonstrated a 17% improvement when using AI to interpret chest x-rays compared to conventional radiology readings. It has formed a partnership with drug giant AstraZeneca that aims to scale up the technology to reduce lung cancer mortality rates around the world.

Alongside the personalised treatment plans produced by AI, the machine learning tool will also be invaluable when diagnosing patients in the future. According to Proclinical, AI is already enabling breast cancer mammograms to be reviewed 30x faster with nearly 100% accuracy.

Health-tech company Qure.AI is also demonstrating the value of AI in healthcare as their AI is enabling the early detection of lung cancer, as a study conducted indicated a 17% improvement when using AI to interpret chest x-rays compared to conventional radiology readings. 

Once again, AI is demonstrating its strong use case within medicine and its ability to impress us all with quick and highly accurate results, indicating AI will become used more and more within medicine. Some examples of medical questions relating to the ethics of AI you may face could be: 

3 AI-themed questions that may come up in your medical interview:

  • Could the NHS benefit from further implementation of AI in medicine> If so, how? 
  • How does AI impact the diagnosis of medical conditions, and what are the potential positives and negatives for healthcare professionals and patients?
  • Can you give a specific example of how AI has improved the treatment and care of a patient within healthcare? 

Although AI is making significant noise in research and hopefully throughout the wards soon, AI also has the potential to revolutionise how healthcare professionals learn. 

At Pastest we have developed the AI Tutor (beta), which is currently available in our MRCP 1 resource. Currently, our newest revision tool is gaining popularity quickly within our MRCP Part 1 resource, as users can ask any question (relating to the question/topic) and instantly get the help they deserve.

We have previously discussed how AI is changing medical revision in our blog: Medical Revision: AI to the Rescue? But a language model dedicated solely to helping our users understand what our MCQs are asking of them, whether that be using small clues towards the answer or having the question re-phrased, the AI tutor works at the beck and call of our users at the click of a button to provide the best possible and most intuitive revision experience. 

3. Genomic Medicine (Treatment Plans)

Genomic medicine is the study of the collective impact that all of a person’s genes have on their body. Although genomic medicine has been around since the human genome project, a project aiming to fully map and understand every human gene, this area of healthcare is still relatively unexplored.

Genomic medicine will continue to expand, allowing for personalised treatment plans based on an individual’s genetic makeup. Advancements in genomics will lead to more precise diagnoses, early detection of health complications and targeted treatments specifically related to what the patient’s genome will respond to, improving overall patient care. 

4. 3D printing

3D printing techniques in healthcare are growing rapidly. More than 110 hospitals in the US had facilities for point-of-care 3D manufacturing in 2019, compared with just 3 in 2010, according to data provided by Statista.

One of the main benefits of 3D printing is that it greatly accelerates production processes and reduces the cost of traditionally manufactured products. The technology has reduced the time it takes to produce hearing aids from more than one week to just one day, according to the American Hospital Association. Alongside medical aids, 3D printing has become vital for organ transplants. Printing organs is not only possible but has also been proven to be a more than sufficient replacement for "regular" organs. 

A great example you can use for the use case of 3D printing is Spritam. In August 2015, the FDA approved an epilepsy drug called Spritam which is made by 3D printers. It prints out the powdered drug layer by layer to make it dissolve faster than average pills, highlighting how 3D printing is already making waves in the medical community.  

5. Virtual reality (VR)

The VR and AR (augmented reality) market is booming worldwide, both inside and outside of healthcare. The technology can be deployed in various ways for doctors, such as performing more advanced surgery, helping with pain relief, and treating mental health conditions. 

Furthermore, VR is shaping up to be an amazing tool for helping students practice surgery. According to Dr José Barral, chair of biomedical sciences at the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine, “The potential advantages of VR for clinicians are tremendous, and only the limits of our imagination restrict the possibilities.”

This is supported by a study mentioned by TIME, they discuss VR’s role in improving doctors’ performance and the authors state, VR tools are, “very effective in transferring skills to the operating room”, indicating the value of completing training using VR.

6. Digital Twins

A digital twin is a virtual model of a real-world system, object, place, tool, or process. It can be used to simulate anything from a singular object, such as a needle, to understand how it works in different conditions to an entire hospital to understand how services are delivered. 

Digital twins of the human body and individual organs have been developed to model the effects of changes in treatment, medication, and lifestyle choices. For example, a digital twin of a tumour can be used to test new clinical decisions and alternative solutions to a patient’s problems. 

It’s clear businesses are recognising the importance of digital twins as the global market is expected to grow an estimated $110 billion by 2028 according to Forbes.  

7. CRISPR Gene Editing

Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) is a system found in bacteria for immune defence. Bacteria use CRISPR to cut up the DNA of invading viruses that may kill them. We have adopted this system to create gene-editing technology to “Cut out” infected DNA strands, which may help us to make significant leaps in fighting deadly diseases such as HIV.

CRISPR Gene Editing is also an ethical talking point, which could make it a great topic of conversation in an interview, as the technology has been recognised for its ability to alter genomes in children as a team of Chinese scientists was prosecuted in 2020 for editing an embryo’s genome. Another researcher expressed their concern for future research on gene editing in adults as a result of the arrest. Highlighting the many complications regarding this topic. 

Thank you for reading our blog about the new technologies you can expect to hear of in hospitals in the coming years. Remember, understanding the latest advancements within the healthcare industry can be crucial to demonstrating your passion and enthusiasm for healthcare and medicine, whether you’re applying for medical school or a job after finishing your studies.

At Pastest we’re constantly trying to innovate products to provide world-class tools for all members of the medical community to ensure they have all the tools they need to become world-class doctors and medics alike. To stay up to date with our latest updates, product upgrades and latest revision tools, follow our socials and never miss an announcement!

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  • 02 Apr 2024
  • Medical School