More sharing of health data
Although you still probably have to fill out those paper forms every time you go to the doctor, the way medical records are gathered, stored, and shared are changing. Electronic health records let patient info be stored in the cloud for easier access. According to a survey, 77 per cent of respondents are interested in sharing their health data, especially if it helps them get better care. Electronic health records also benefit doctors – one study found that ER medical professionals said accessing health info like medication list, allergies and medical histories through an electronic exchange was helpful in treating patients. “When health providers break out of the silo mentality of care, good things happen,” Cirillo says.
Another technological innovation that could help older people is 3D printing of body parts that may have gotten a little worse for wear. Researchers at Wake Forest University have made advances in “bioprinting” and grown ears, bone, and muscle that were successfully implanted in animals. “With further development, this technology could potentially be used to print living tissue and organ structures for surgical implantation,” Wake Forest researcher Dr Anthony Atala, said. One medical research company aims to have 3D-printed human liver tissue to the FDA within a few years.
Other advances in new ways to grow tissue itself could help older people who are in need of replacement parts. “Tissue engineering will revolutionise our ability to repair and replace organs damaged by disease – dramatically changing the prospects for successful transplantation without rejection,” says John Barnard, MD, Chief of Paediatrics, President of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Chair of the Department of Paediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. According to the NIH, research in this area involves changing stem cells into other cell types and using lattices or scaffolds to grow new tissue.