Game Changers: Important Medical Innovations Over the Past 30 Years
Thanks to advances in technology, the pace of medical innovations has been rapid in the past three decades. Let’s take a look at five of the most game-changing and life-saving medical innovations from the past 30 years.
Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
The use of shared medical records via electronic filing systems has skyrocketed over the past decade. Now, doctors and hospitals can pull up a patient’s medical history immediately, including current prescriptions, past surgeries, and pre-existing conditions. (1)
EHR use then and now (1)
Electronic Health Records… (1)
…reduce costs for both patients and providers.
…allow providers to deliver more personalized care to patients.
…help prevent medical mistakes like misdiagnoses.
…make it easier for pharmacies to stay connected regarding prescriptions.
HIV Combined Drug Therapy
Number of Americans living with HIV (3)
1 in 8 Americans with HIV don’t know they’re infected. (3)
In the 80s and early 90s, an HIV diagnosis meant a person would most likely develop AIDS and die from the disease within mere months. Then, in 1995, antiretroviral therapy (ART) was introduced and the mortality rate from illnesses due to HIV dropped 83%. (1)
Today, HIV combined drug therapies give those diagnosed the hope of surviving 50 years or more with proper care. (1)
Minimally Invasive Surgeries
Decades ago, even biopsies were considered invasive surgeries that required long hospital stays and recovery times. In 1994, however, modern robotics were introduce into the operating room. Today, many surgeries have become minimally invasive, sometimes only requiring local anesthetic and same-day patient release. (1)
Patients often have a choice of different types of surgeries, including robotic or endoscopic (non-robotic) procedures. Surgeries that have transformed into minimally invasive procedures include: (4)
Gynecological cancer treatments
Prostate cancer treatments
Kidney stone removals
Spinal trauma corrections
Some tumor removals
Benefits of minimally invasive surgeries (4)
Lower infection risks
Shorter hospital stays
Quicker recovery times
Reduced blood loss
Needle-Free Injection Technology (NFIT)
Hypodermic syringes were invented in 1853. In the 1940s and 1950s, a need for a more sterile alternative was realized. Needle-free, air-powered injectors were then developed, though only recently perfected by companies like PharmaJet. (1)
Shortcomings of hypodermic needles(5)
Needle stick injuries
Patient needle phobias
Qualities of needle-free injectors(1)
Works by using spring systems or laser pulses to quickly inject medicine through skin
An auto-disabling syringe prevents cross-contamination
There are no external power sources or gas cartridges
Eliminates needle sticks in healthcare environments
Nanotechnology has been a booming industry in the last decade. Recently, it was discovered that a nanostructured material created in the 1990s at MIT could be used to stop bleeding. (2)
How it works (6)
Patient is bleeding, internally or externally.
The nanohealing liquid—a clear, gel-like substance—is poured over the affected area.
The liquid, a synthetic peptide, forms fibers that act as a physical barrier over bleeding vessels.
The liquid works immediately and is broken down naturally by the body at a later time, so no removal is needed.
Whom this helps (6)
Surgeons and surgical nurses
OB nurses and doctors
Trauma center nurses