The NHS has been one of our national institutions for 70 years this week, and although we have come so far, the breakthroughs in technology happening every day are leading healthcare further and further into the future.
Here are 5 innovative technologies that will change the future of the NHS.
VR has been massive in the gaming industry over the last couple of years, but this technology lends itself not only to the training of healthcare professionals, but to the rehabilitation of patients. Upload VR states that VR is being used to advance autism therapy, reduce chronic pain and even speed up recovery after traumatic brain injury.
There were more organ transplants in the UK than ever before in 2015/2016, and although the donation consent rate is increasing, and the opt-out system is currently in early stages of consideration by UK government, 3D printing could offer an alternative to organ donation. A sample of tissue could be taken from either the patient or a donor, and this would be used to print new organs. 3D printing could also be used to print prosthetic limbs and to increase production, and therefore decrease the cost of medicines.
Imagine a world in which ambulances and other paramedic vehicles were driverless. This would allow more paramedics to be dispersed to emergency situations, or additional hands on deck when needed. Driverless vehicles would also increase the quality of life for those whose illness or disability means they cannot drive. For example, amputees and epileptic individuals would be able to travel by car.
Fitness trackers and smart watches could easily be adapted to measure your heart rate, blood sugar levels, blood pressure and many other vitals. A simple squeeze of your wrist every 3 hours could allow your smart watch to monitor your health, and feedback this data directly to your doctor. Wearable tech could essentially mean medical records full of live data which could help diagnose or prevent conditions that may otherwise go unnoticed.
Nanotechnology has revolutionised healthcare over the last couple of years, and will continue to do so. From protecting patients from bone infection to possibly even extending life, there is no telling just what nanotechnology will be able to do in the future. In another 70 years, the NHS could have access to treatment specific nanobots that can be injected into the body and attach themselves to specific cells, either to repair or destroy them, or perhaps even transform them.
To find out how the NHS has grown over the last 70 years, check out our NHS innovation timeline.