Health 2.0: How technology has changed medicine

Santiago, Chile. January 3, 2023 In recent years, technological advances have revolutionized all industries and changed our daily lifestyle. In healthcare, what once seemed unthinkable or distant has now become a reality. For many, the medicine of the future is already here.

In some areas of healthcare, the introduction of new and innovative technologies has favorably changed the provision of medical services, improving the timing and accuracy of diagnosis, earlier detection of diseases, greater efficiency and, as a consequence of all this, improving the quality of patient care. This is important, especially since early and adequate attention can make a big difference. For example, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal, every month that cancer treatment is delayed can increase the risk of death by about 10% (1).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in six deaths reported worldwide is caused by cancer. A sad reality, of which Chile is also a part. In the country, a study conducted by the Ministry of Health (Minsal)(2) showed that the cancer death rate has reached its highest level in the last ten years, affecting mainly women and men aged 60 to 65 years. Among the experts’ opinions, some of the reasons are related to risky lifestyle and lack of education to improve it, which affects smoking habit, adequate nutrition, early consultation, early diagnosis and timely treatment, among others. Another point that stands out is the lack of access to treatment in the regions, which is why decentralization is one of the biggest needs of the sector.

The reality we live in regarding cancer diagnosis reflects the need for more accurate preventative diagnosis, which is very important in various fields of medicine. Another example is cardiology. In this area, GE HealthCare is continually innovating to improve analytics. One solution is an analysis program that provides accurate and validated heart rate, axis, interval and duration measurements, and offers ECG analysis, including atrial arrhythmias, rhythm detection and QT measurement.

Innovation and the use of technology allow us to optimize and integrate work areas to achieve better results (more accurate and faster) for patients. Artificial intelligence (AI), for example, has enabled very important advances in healthcare by changing the way clinical teams, physicians, technologists, and others engage. It is a tool that supports various stakeholders so they can focus on patient care. Benefits include more effective treatment, faster and more accurate tests, and more stringent monitoring and control.

Democratizing technologies like GE HealthCare’s AIR Recon DL(3) is helping empower local health centers with AI technology that can reduce scan time without sacrificing image quality. A reduction in examination time for extremities by up to 74% – from 36 to 9 minutes – and by 61% for abdominal examinations in women – from 1 hour to 24 minutes has been demonstrated, resulting in a less burdensome experience for individuals (4).

Likewise, PET/CT, positron emission tomography and computed tomography technologies are essential for diagnosing and treating cancer, and GE HealthCare has developed Precision DL. This is the latest addition to GE HealthCare’s portfolio of DL-based solutions designed to improve image quality and improve patient outcomes in healthcare systems’ diagnostic imaging fleets.

Future trends

And as we witness a new era in healthcare, innovation will continue to be inevitable. Among the new technologies that are starting to gain momentum is virtual reality. In some parts of the world, it is being used by surgeons and future specialists in the field to perform operations using the software, which has shown promising results. A recent Harvard Business Review study(5) found that professionals trained in virtual reality increased their overall productivity by 230% compared to those trained traditionally, and performed surgical procedures faster and more accurately.

On the other hand, remote patient monitoring and virtual care will continue to grow. Advances in new technologies have enabled clinics and health centers to provide services remotely, such as performing ultrasounds on pregnant women and sharing data remotely for virtual collaboration.

Another case involving the use of technology in healthcare and the possibility of more accurate diagnosis is related to breast cancer. At GE HealthCare, we have developed and refined equipment with unique features, such as the Pristina Dueta mammography machine, which allows patients to self-control breast compression during examinations using a wireless remote control. In this case, we have seen an improvement in image quality and therefore in diagnosis, which, although it may seem insignificant, is of vital importance when we are talking about one of the leading causes of death in the country (6).

Advances that have changed the world of medicine will continue to amaze us. When we use technology to our advantage, we give ourselves the opportunity to advance into a new era of medicine. Chile is not immune to this trend, as various medical institutions strive to implement more and more technologies every day that allow them to continue to improve in obtaining better diagnoses and patient care, even incorporating artificial intelligence into their procedures, making Chile a leading country in Latin America . it is at the forefront of innovation. At GE HealthCare, we will continue to work and collaborate to deliver solutions that deliver better experiences and ensure a world where health has no boundaries.

(1) British Medical Journal. (2020) Mortality due to cancer treatment delay: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
(2) Results obtained by this center may not be applicable to all institutions, and individual results may vary. It is provided for informational purposes only and its contents do not constitute a representation or warranty by GE HealthCare.
(3) Ministry of Health (MINSAL). (2020) Cancer Surveillance Report. decade-between-2009-2018/
(4) GE HealthCare, (sf) MR image reconstruction using AIR™ Recon DL.
(5) Harvard Business Review. (2019). Study: How virtual reality can help train surgeons.
(6) World Health Organization. (2020) Data visualization tools for studying the global burden of cancer in 2020.

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