One of the most important themes in healthcare technology today is the democratization of medical imaging. What in the world do we mean by that, you ask?
Basically we’re talking about all the new technologies being developed that will enable more physicians to use imaging and improve patient care at all levels. More and more of these advances are coming every day and it’s amazing to watch the ripple effects they are having on the healthcare industry as a whole.
One example of a new medical imaging technology is a handheld 3D medical scanner, as described by Kurzweil. Engineers from the University of Illinois have developed it to allow primary care doctors to take medical images as they have never been able to do before.
The new handheld image scanner enables physicians to scan common sites such as the thickness and health of a patient’s retinas or bacterial colonies in the middle ear. It uses optical coherence tomography (OCT), which is a visualization technology similar to ultrasound imaging, to create an instant, high-resolution 3D image. Primary care physicians can scan any of the tissue sites commonly examined during an outpatient visit, including ears, eyes, oral and nasal mucosa, skin and cervix.
Traditionally, primary care doctors have monitored chronic conditions with instruments that are little more than magnifying glasses, says University of Illinois physician and biomedical engineer Stephen Boppart. Now, these doctors can use the same type of technology relied upon by surgeons in the operating room. Dr. Boppart will be presenting the team’s findings at the Frontiers in Optics conference on October 16 in Rochester, NY.
New advancements like this handheld image scanner are bringing the benefits of advanced medical imaging to every doctor’s office and every patient. And with the addition of another new technology, medical image exchange in the cloud, these images can be shared with any doctor or hospital around the world. DICOM Grid is excited to be a partner in this democratization of medical imaging that is changing the healthcare industry for good.