The advancement in technology in every sector across the world has set the spirit of innovation on a path that has led to immense breakthroughs in every field specifically when it comes to the field of medicines. Medical innovation by extension has been taking place in a unique environment that attracts criticism and oversight from different players within the industry leveraging on moral and ethical implications and finding a footing in accelerating the pace of technological innovations.
The cardiovascular field is one such area that provides an excellent opportunity to study the process of innovation. In the last decade there has been several technological advances in diagnosis and therapy of cardiovascular medical conditions that have had a significant change in clinical practice. Cardiological innovations has seen growth in numerous techniques that are available for producing images of the heart and provide valuable information for guiding diagnosis, patient assessment, and therapeutic intervention. From this set of techniques, we have identified several technologies that in recent decades made the practice and treatment of cardiovascular conditions effective. These are:
1. Artificial Intelligence in Cardiology, is currently by far the number one overarching topic, AI is helping augment cardiologists and medical imaging. For instance, AI technology that are commercially available today for patients use include automated ejection fraction (EF) calculations for point-of-care ultrasound systems (POCUS), which is like V scan. In addition are technology that that aid treatment in the arteries or AI-based cardiac MRI analysis software. This software automates the quantity required to speed up exam post processing
2.Transcatheter Mitral and Tricuspid Valve Interventions is another innovation that is used in treating cardiovascular conditions. For instance, in the 2019, the FDA cleared the use of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) for all patient scheduled to undergo a surgery, this meant that it had qualified the process as a surgical risk that categorises the adoption and treatment cardiovascular diseases which is crucial in making it a final step to opening the procedure to all patients and making it a new standard of care. So far there has been clinical study data supports TAVR as a good or better mode of treatment, than surgical valve replacements, because it is being performed as a same-day outpatient procedure at some centres. Experts also predict 75 percent of aortic valve replacements will be performed via TAVR by the year 2025.
3. Virtual and Augmented Realty in Cardiology is an augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) that is used by several large cardiology device vendors for staff training. For example, Boston Scientific group is using virtual reality headsets with pre-loaded live electrophysiology device implant cases, these gadgets offer a 360-degree view of the electrophysiology lab and the procedure to undertaken while an opinion leader offers his advice and explains what they are doing during the case. This virtual physician proctoring may help speed up the transfer of how-to knowledge and patient access to new EP technologies.
5. Big Data and Structured Reporting, In the past decade of U.S. healthcare reform, the biggest accomplishment has been to get most hospitals use electronic medical records (EMR) and digital reporting systems. This effort has assisted healthcare systems realize that they can leverage their EMR investments to data mine, their rapidly growing digital archive. The use of analytics software has made it a priority for most hospitals and subspecialty departments to acquire and implement. The use of data analytics from structured reports are being used to find workflow bottlenecks, monitor staff workloads, track numbers of procedures, disease types, inventory, patient outcomes, tracking costs, equipment usage, etc. What took hours to days to be able to pull numbers from Crystal Reports a few years ago can now be automated and questions answered in seconds. It is thus a new, more efficient way to manage staff, patient care and the medical business.
6. Virtual, Image-based F.F.R Technologies, is a key diagnostic tool that is used to determine if a stent is needed in a coronary lesion treatment. The technology requires the use of pharmacological stress agent adenosine with a wire pull back inserted in the vessel, making the additional procedure to be time consuming and costly therefore limiting the procedure adoption. FFR-CT requires the CT imaging to be sent to the vendor and it is run through a computational fluid dynamics algorithm aided by a supercomputer to create a 3-D coronary tree with FFR ratios for all the vessel segments. It can take a couple hours to process the results, but this process is fast enough to be used in some luminary hospitals to assess patients who have been with chest pain complications.
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