2022 Health Trends: Healthcare Sector and Technology

Top Healthcare Trends in 2022 and Beyond

Technological advancement has grown exponentially in the past decade. The healthcare sector is one of the many businesses that technology has heavily disrupted.

Today, big and small companies are using it to cultivate their growth. For advanced technology and state-of-the-art medical imaging equipment, contact Catalina Imaging today.

In this blog, we’ll talk about five trends that are disrupting and will further disrupt healthcare in the future. Let’s begin.

5 Trends That Will Transform the Healthcare Industry

1. AI and machine learning

Thanks to its massive potential, AI is the most influential tech in the health sector. For instance, it can help healthcare teams accurately diagnose patients and suggest personalized treatments depending on several factors.

Moreover, machine learning is used on mobile apps to display relevant information for people suffering from certain illnesses. For example, patients can now check their symptoms and understand what’s ailing them. That’s without the need to visit a hospital physically.  

Healthily (Your.MD) is one such company using this tech. In 2020, the global self-care platform experienced a 350% user growth in the last 12 months.

AI can also significantly boost the expertise of clinicians. They call it augmented intelligence. It’s where AI acts as an assistant to the clinician to improve their medical knowledge. In short, AI enhances a clinician’s expertise rather than replacing them entirely.

2. Wearables as healthcare tools

Smartwatches and fitness trackers are healthcare trends that are only going to grow moving forward. Their evolution has allowed them to penetrate the medical industry through 24-hour monitoring, real-time measurements, and data gathering capabilities.

A recent example would be Apple collaborating with Johnson & Johnson for research regarding Heartline Study. The study aims to determine if Apple Watch’s electrocardiogram capabilities can decrease the chances of a stroke through early detection of afib or atrial fibrillation.

People with irregular heartbeat are prone to stroke. Thus, health experts can potentially mitigate or even prevent stroke by continuously monitoring at-risk individuals.

Another use of wearables is positive behavioral change. South Australia researchers found that wearables can encourage people to practice regular exercise.

The researchers analyzed 400 studies with 164,000 global participants using wearable activity trackers (WAT). They found that tracking one’s physical activity levels led people to walk up to 40 minutes daily. That’s roughly equivalent to 1,800 steps, resulting in an average weight loss of 1kg (2.2) over five months.

Of course, wearables aren’t exactly accurate, especially when comparing one exercise over the other. For instance, a 30-minute HIIT workout will have a varying caloric burn than a 30-minute run.

However, wearables are great at tracking your workout’s intensity over time. This can be an excellent source of an external motivator for a lot of people.

After all, it can be rewarding to see your progress outlined in your fitness tracker. And most of the time, people are hesitant to break their workout streak.

3. Virtual Healthcare

This is another healthcare trend that’s exploded in recent years. Globally, telehealth stood at $144.38 billion in 2020. By 2028, that number will balloon to $636.38 billion.

That massive growth isn’t surprising, especially given the impact of COVID-19. For instance, remote health consultations went from 0.1% to 43.5% during the first months of the pandemic. Those who avail of this service were contented with their experience too, particularly younger people. Gen Z and millennials have 86% and 83% satisfaction ratings, respectively.

Virtual healthcare is also highly beneficial for people in remote locations. For example, if an area doesn’t have a nearby physician on hand, patients can turn to virtual healthcare to assist them with their needs.

It isn’t perfect, of course. But places like China and India, where it’s extremely difficult to reach specific populations, stand to benefit the most.

4. Extended reality

Extended reality is a broad term encompassing mixed reality (MR), virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR). One of its primary uses is training clinicians on sensitive operations without putting patients at risk.

It can use VR to immerse the trainee in a virtual environment completely. Or it can rely on MR and AR to overlay virtual images on real-world objects.

Aside from training, extended reality is also used in cognitive behavioral therapy. Patients with anxiety, chronic pain, and schizophrenia can battle their fears in safe environments and non-threatening spaces.

For specific applications, the AccuVein system is a good example. It acts as a vein locator through blood flow heat detection, highlighting the vein on the patient’s arm and making it easier to insert injections.

5. Large data analysis

This is an extension of AI and machine learning applications in the medical sector. A sea of data from patients has inundated the healthcare industry.

Naturally, making sense of this vast information can be incredibly challenging. Fortunately, AI and machine learning are here to process this data.

For instance, AI can handle the workload instead of nurses and physicians conducting triage during first contact in the emergency room. As a result, it frees the medical team to oversee other crucial tasks in the hospital.

On a global scale, AI and machine learning can process data globally to make informed decisions about where and when an outbreak might occur. That preventive capability can save thousands, if not millions, of lives.

Healthcare Trends in 2022: What the Future Holds

With technology advancing at an exponential rate, it’s uncertain what the medical sector will look like in the future. But one thing is certain: the merging of humans and machines to deliver high-quality medical services will only grow from here.

That’s not counting massive corporations like Apple and Amazon increasingly involving themselves in healthcare. Of course, that can be a blessing or a curse depending on how everything unfolds.

But as it stands, it seems healthcare trends will highlight the convenience and accessibility that tech will bring forward. And that’s what Catalina Imaging aims to achieve. For more information about products and services, email us at info@catalinaimaging.com or call us at (844) 949-1664.

Can CT and MRI Predict Free Flap Failure?

Predicting Free Flap Failure Using CT and MRI Scan

CT (computerized tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans have revolutionized the medical industry. Both can provide valuable images to the medical team regarding diseases and human anatomy.

Today, CT and MRI have plenty of uses, from diagnosing muscle disorders and detecting brain and spinal cord anomalies. But there is another area that experts are looking into where CT and MRI scans can help.

And that area is the free flap procedure.

In this blog, we’ll examine CT and MRI and whether or not both can predict the free flap method’s success rate. But before that, let’s define free flap and its uses.

What is a free flap procedure?

A free flap procedure is where a piece of tissue is disconnected from its original area and reconnected to a distant part to cover a wound. Then, the blood vessel of the said flap is sewn to another blood vessel to reestablish the connection.

That procedure is done with the use of microvascular surgery. Here, the two blood vessels are sewn back together under a microscope.

At Catalina Imaging, our experienced professionals use the latest diagnostic equipment to provide you with accurate and precise images that help to improve your health. Contact us today for more information about how we can help you get the best possible care!

A free flap procedure has a 95% success rate. However, failure isn’t uncommon either. If worse comes to worst, the process will result in the total loss of the flap. In this case, experts may carry out a new procedure, which still has an 89% success rate, although it’s technically demanding.

Thus, monitoring the flap to assess if the procedure will hold is better. If not, early detection is crucial to salvaging the flap.

Here’s where CT and MRI come in.

Can CT and MRI foresee free flap failure?

According to a Michigan University study, CT and MRI scans are promising avenues to explore when trying to predict if a flap will fail. It will allow surgeons to intervene early and conduct appropriate corrections if proven true.

Using CT scans and MRI scans, experts can examine patients who underwent the procedure to determine if the free flap is a success, says Ashok Srinivasan, M.D., FACR, senior author of the paper and neuroradiologist at the University of Michigan Health.

Srinivasan added that the areas they’re evaluating are the blood flow going in and out of the tissue. Depending on the findings, the patient may be discharged early or if further surgical intervention is required.

If it’s the former, it will significantly lower the cost of the patient’s hospitalization. People undergoing a free flap procedure are estimated to stay in the hospital for a week. If discharged early, it will save them a substantial sum.

It’s still too early to conclude

Despite the promising findings, however, it’s still too early to say whether or not CT scans and MRI scans can indeed predict free flap viability. The researchers still need to analyze more cases before a conclusion is drawn.

As it stands, only 19 successful cases have been evaluated by the researchers. An additional five more cases were also analyzed, which exhibited wound failure.

The researchers couldn’t compare the two methods against each other due to the small sample size. Nor were they able to contrast CT and MRI perfusion techniques to ultrasound techniques for the same reason.

Surgeons often use Doppler and skin paddle techniques to evaluate the viability of free flap reconstruction. Unfortunately, both methods aren’t able to examine deeper flap aspects. Air and blood products also obstruct evaluation, which considerably lessens its accuracy.

Hence, a more robust evaluation method like CT and MRI scans is needed. The next step is to determine which of the two is more effective and cost-efficient.

Key Takeaway

From the preceding discussion, it becomes obvious CT and MRI are valuable diagnostic tools to predict free flap failure. Particularly in critical-size defects, they can be helpful in judging the quality of microsurgical skills and avoiding maloperation.

For a reliable mobile medical image service provider, you can call Catalina Imaging at (844) 949-1664. You may also email us at info@catalinaimaging.com for more information.