Medtech is changing life sciences careers in a big way, but what exactly are the trends in this sector? Hays’ Paul Strouts takes a closer look.
As each day goes by, advances in medical technology are becoming more evident, with state-of-the-art physical devices and the ever-increasing ‘smart’ revolution propelling both clinicians and patients to better health outcomes.
The category ‘medical devices’ is no longer confined to objects such as implants and dressings, but a wealth of new concepts, from mobile apps for fitness and wellness, to virtual-reality (VR) doctor training.
With so many innovations making news headlines, the effect can be overwhelming, even for those in the life sciences sector. It is worth taking the time to identify the trends that are opening new, unimagined career pathways for life sciences candidates. Here is a whistlestop overview of the ones to watch.
The Apple Watch, with its capacity to promote fitness and wellbeing, is one of a growing range of hardware/software solutions that provide a powerful mobile health resource for consumers/patients.
The adoption of such fitness-tracking modalities is accelerating. Apple Watch is just one of an expanding portfolio of healthcare technologies held by the tech giant – its acquisition of personal health data company Gliimpse makes clear its intentions in the area.
Wearables is a step up from mobile medicine and generally refers to clothing or apparel with medical sensors that can provide healthcare professionals with crucial lifesaving data.
At CES 2016 in Las Vegas, for example, smart T-shirts and hearing aids were on show as well as wearable devices to relieve pain using infrared technology. In addition, glasses and goggles can now do everything from support surgeons in the operating theatre, to train medical students with an immersive VR experience.
Medical 3D printing
3D printing involves creating a digital model, and then printing a physical object in successive layers. Incredible applications are now being found for this technology, with doctors using it to make prosthetics, customised casts and joint replacements.
Bioengineers are working towards being able to print off internal organs using bio-ink (made of living cell structures) as well as sophisticated medical devices and surgical tools.
The recent Healthcare Robotics 2015-2020: Trends, Opportunities and Challenges report was released by the Robotics Business Review.
It segmented the robotic health market into three categories: direct patient care robots (encompassing surgical robots and prosthetics), indirect patient care robots (which streamline healthcare delivery systems) and home healthcare robots (‘home help’ robotic assistance for ageing populations).
‘Remote medicine’ is a natural consequence of the vast connectivity of the internet. Telemedicine is the use of advanced telecommunication technologies to exchange health information and provide healthcare services across geographic barriers.
It has the potential to offer access to top-notch care for all populations, and lower the cost of consultations for patients who may not need face-to-face check-ups for minor health problems.
Personal health records
A personal health record is a software application used by patients to maintain and manage their health information in a private, secure and confidential environment.
Gliimpse is touted as the first automated personal health data platform, whereby a series of algorithms enables users to collect data from various sources into their own personal health summaries. While issues around security and privacy persist, adoption is nonetheless on the rise.
By Paul Strouts
Paul Strouts is the global managing director for Hays Life Sciences. Strouts looks after 27 countries within the group’s portfolio, spanning from New York in the US to Sydney in Australia.
A version of this article originally appeared on Hays’ Viewpoint blog.