High-Tech Health Care
From the home to the hospital, technology is giving people more control over their health and providing doctors more options in treating their patients.
Monitoring devices that were once only in the hands of medical staff are now in the pockets of consumers, driven in large part by the growth of apps and gadgets that connect with smartphones. Meanwhile, innovations in heart pumps and potential breakthroughs in artificial pancreases are offering new hope for people struggling to live with serious conditions.
New technologies are often criticized as solutions in search of problems. In this special report, we explore several innovations that are answering very real needs.
About 5.1 million patients are living with heart failure in the U.S. Just five years ago, their options would have been limited to drug therapy or cumbersome devices that wore out after a few months. Now, newer mechanical pumps are buying more time until a donor organ is available.
Artificial pancreases hold the promise to be the biggest breakthrough for treating Type 1 diabetes since the discovery of insulin a century ago, scientists say. The advance could translate into a $15 billion market for the devices.
Devices once only in the hands of doctors, such as heart or blood pressure monitors, are now in the pockets of consumers, putting them in charge of their health and making medical care more accessible. Consumers are also increasingly armed with “wellness” apps -- simpler devices to monitor diets, exercise and weight to help them stay out of the doctor’s office -- that make up most of the 97,000 health related mobile-apps available.
A rising number of reports about deaths, injuries and malfunctions linked to the robotic surgery system made by Intuitive Surgical Inc. may pressure hospitals to bolster training for doctors using the $1.5 million device.
Medtronic’s CoreValve replaced damaged aortic valves more safely than expected in patients who can’t tolerate traditional open-heart surgery, leading U.S. regulators to say it won’t need an advisory committee review.
Boston Scientific’s Vessix hypertension treatment significantly lowered blood pressure levels in patients with a hard-to-treat form of the condition that doesn’t respond well to drug therapy, a study found.
A 63-year-old man with Type 1 diabetes received a transplant of insulin-producing cells with the aid of a device that eliminated use of immune-blocking drugs, a potential breakthrough that may lead to safer and more effective procedures to revive weakened organs.