Medical Specialties

Shreya Rupesh

July 31, 2021

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New disruptive technology is transforming the medical field for the better. Advancements like artificial intelligence and medical sensors are growing popular due to their accuracy and precision. However, these machines will not fully replace humans; the solution is the combination of humans and machines. With the evolution of cutting-edge technology, the demand for certain medical specialties will also evolve.

Here are some of the medical specialties that are on the rise:

Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation: Activity trackers are being used worldwide to provide basic information to people who exercise regularly. Notably, the Fitbit Blaze, Wahoo, and Polar H10 are some of the various devices that have been developed for professional athletes. These devices give insight into many aspects of daily life such as, sleep patterns, fitness level, and calorie count. They also include an array of pre-existing workouts and breathing exercises while also serving as a regular smartwatch with email, messaging, and music capabilities. In the future, trackers will be more ubiquitous. Companies are already beginning to embed trackers into clothes. For example, HexoSkin developed a "smart shirt" that uses sensors to identify heart rate, calories burned, and more.

Emergency Medicine: This field requires an immediate and efficient response to any medical emergency or disaster. Hence, new technology is being developed to reduce response time and avoid any losses. Medical drones are being improved to deliver medical supplies quicker. These drones hold drugs, vaccines, and medical aids and deliver them to people in need. With newer sensors and diagnosis devices, it will be easy to analyze patients wherever they are. AliveCor designs phone cases that "record users' heart rates and [electrocardiograms] through their fingertips and transmits the results to an app" (Medical Futurist). It instantly analyzes results and warns users of any potential dangers. Thus, this technology could save lives when users have a heart attack or an abnormal heartbeat pattern.

Epidemiology: COVID-19, Zika, and Ebola are some of the latest viruses that have caused irreparable damage to the world. In the future, new advancements like robots and AI can help scientists manage and prevent outbreaks. BlueDot in Canada used technology to predict the emerging risk of COVID-19. This company published the first scientific paper on COVID-19, "accurately predicting eight of the first 10 cities to import the novel coronavirus" (Bluedot).

Epidemiology is also affected by the massive spread of information. Professionals and scientists have a hard time filtering out accurate data online; thus, the creation of online dashboards for professionals have been very beneficial. Data on how the virus spread, as well as, the death and recovery rate for every country have been accessible.

Surgery: More accurate robots and AI systems will be used to aid surgeries in the future. Now, some doctors are using the Flex Robotic System to perform throat surgeries. This system allows doctors to reach previously unreachable places in the patient with more precision. It is very easy to use and is also affordable. The Da Vinci Surgical System was also a breakthrough in surgery technologies. Founded in 1995, this system "delivers 3-D high-definition views, giving your surgeon a crystal clear view of the surgical area that is magnified 10 times to what the human eye sees" (Intuitive). Plus, the system is more precise with many more capabilities than a human hand. In the future, more AR and VR will be used to guide surgeries as well as train surgeons before they practice.

Cancer Immunology: New medications and therapies could result in new clinical challenges. Cell therapy, for example, can cause adverse effects and some drugs can create new autoimmune diseases. In the future, it will be very beneficial to examine the immune system and use the analysis to fight new potential diseases. There is a growing need for doctors to treat these new issues and also characterize new autoimmune diseases.

Medical Virtualists: The telehealth market is expected to have a great future. With more technological advances, long distance patient contact will be more accessible. Thus, virtual providers are necessary for primary care, consultations, patient monitoring, and other clinical services.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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