5 Innovative Breakthroughs in Medical Technology
As our lifespans get longer and our lifestyles get faster, the healthcare industry is constantly developing new technology, not only to keep up with us, but also to improve the quality of healthcare and keep us well for longer. From lowering scan times and increasing mammogram image quality to storage utilisation, industry experts have been working to make healthcare services even better.
Siemens Healthineers has a range of mammogram scanners that are focused on producing higher clarity images and improving diagnostics. The multitude of benefits across all models in the range demonstrates the versatility of Siemens Healthineers, including one-click positioning, which prompts the machine to move through a set of pre-determined positions and conduct the scan in a reduced time with greater patient comfort.
There are some features specific to each design. For example, the Mammomat Inspiration can reduce the radiation doses required to conduct a scan due to its PRIME Technology, which also eliminates scattered radiation and produces optimized images. The Mammomat Revelation can produce synthetic visualisations of tomosynthesis volumes in both 2D and 3D, with its unique Insight 3D supporting easier analysis of microcalcification. Mobile screening units greatly benefit from the Mammomat Fusion’s robust new-generation CsI detector as well as its ability to conduct magnification, spot imaging and biopsies all in the same system.
3D Knee Imaging
GoKnee3D is another innovative product from Siemens Healthineers. The scanner produces high-resolution 3D isotropic images of the knee for examination, creating an accurate model of the internal structure of the joint in 10 minutes. Since knees are the third most popular body part to be scanned by MRI, Siemens is hoping the GoKnee3D will enable better use of knee scans by reducing scanning times. Due to its reduced scanning time, GoKnee3D may potentially double throughput and reduce the cost per scan, helping to reduce bills for the hospital and for patients while maximising the MRI scanner’s productivity. The precision of these 3D-rendered MRI images supports surgical planning, as it allows doctors and surgeons to explore any internal abnormalities or derangements of the knee.
Proton Therapy for Cancer Patients
With surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy and hormone therapy just some of the available forms of cancer treatment, it may seem like there are enough treatment methods to cover all situations. But, in some circumstances, these options could cause further health risks to patients or have a limited effect. In these instances, such as eye and brain cancers, liver, lung, breast, prostate and paediatric cancers, proton therapy can be used.
Proton therapy is considered the most advanced form of radiation therapy to date, using a high-energy proton beam to accurately irradiate tumours. IBA, the world leaders of innovative proton therapy technology, power more than half of the proton therapy centres around the world. Proton therapy reduces adverse effects to the healthy tissues surrounding the tumour, as the proton beam does not travel past the tumour and into deeper tissue. A proton beam is delivered via a gantry, which can revolve 360° around the patient to deliver accurate treatment from any angle. IBA treatment rooms are all installed with the latest patient positioning equipment in order to meet this need for precise accuracy.
Automated Medical Warehousing
We recently worked with Finnish medical automation company NewIcon Oy to successfully create the eMED ICON Smart Medicine Cabinet, an automated pharmaceutical dispensary unit. You can read our case study on the project here.
NewIcon’s eMED ICON is the perfect solution for medical dispensary in hospitals and patient treatment centres, but what about the warehousing of medical and surgical stock? Swisslog’s AutoStore is an automated high-density, space-saving storage and picking system that utilises any available warehouse space. A number of robots operate along the top of an aluminium framework in which the boxes of stock are stored, and are able to select the required items efficiently, delivering them to the correct port for packaging. The system keeps highly-requested items at the top of the framework to maintain fast retrieval times while keeping track of stock location and volume, delivering a 90% improvement rate in picking errors over non-automated distribution centres.
Portable X-ray Machines
It’s not always possible to get a patient down to an X-ray theatre. Sometimes they aren’t capable of staying still long enough, they may have an existing condition which affects the ability to scan them in this way, or the experience may be too stressful, especially in children or the elderly. Mobile X-ray machines allow professionals to conduct the necessary scans at the bedside of the patient in order to keep them as comfortable as possible without losing value or performance quality. Carestream has developed several mobile X-ray machines, the newest of which is the DRX-Revolution Nano Mobile X-ray System. The Revolution Nano utilizes Carbon Nano Tube (CNT) Technology, making it possible for it to be even smaller and nimbler than the DRX-Revolution and thus improving its manoeuvrability through small patient rooms, crowded hallways or tight spaces in the ICU or NICU. Chest, ICU, orthopaedic and paediatric scans benefit best from the Revolution Nano, freeing up the theatre to be used for more complex scans that require larger equipment.
Accuride has successfully worked alongside the medical industry for many years, providing corrosion-resistant stainless steel slides for a variety of applications. Stainless steel, for example, provides better protection from harmful bacteria, making it ideal for the sterile environment required in laboratories, clean rooms, wash down areas, chemical storage and staff locker rooms. Our slides are installed in dental practices, mortuaries, blood storage cabinets, blood analysis machines, secure medical storage cabinets, drug dispenser units etc. The smooth and easy movement of our runners ensures that doctors, nurses and staff can get back to the most important part of their jobs as soon as possible.