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The Modern Hospital: Using Technology to Save Lives

The Modern Hospital: Using Technology to Save Lives

Modern technology is used for many lifestyle conveniences, from our smartphones to our vehicles, but it’s also saving lives every second by advancing our medical science. Technology allows the world’s most state-of-the-art hospitals to catch and treat diseases faster and more efficient than ever.

In this article we’ll take a look at the most recent advance in medical technology, and how medical professionals and patients alike benefit from life-saving science.

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Cancer

There are great strides made in both the detection of different kinds of cancers, as well as the treatment of cancers. The typical goal is to make diagnosis and treatment less invasive and more accurate, as well as preserving the patient’s comfort. In most cases, doctors are trying to eliminate intrusive diagnosis of any kind, in order to avoid unnecessary injury.

Some examples include:

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  • Digital Tomosynthesis: Used to detect breast cancer, tomosynthesis mammography creates a 3D image of the area, providing medical professionals with a more accurate scan.
  • MelaFind: Melanoma remains the most deadly form of skin cancer, but traditionally requires a biopsy which could come back negative and even leave nasty scars. MelaFind is a handheld tool used by doctors to gain more information about a patient, leading to a more accurate diagnosis without the need of a biopsy.
  • The Gamma Knife: In an attempt to produce a highly-targeted dose of radiation to patients, the Gamma Knife was created. Despite its name, the Gamma Knife is actually a concentrated beam of radiation, used on target locations without damaging the surrounding tissue.
  • Immunotherapy: Put in very simple terms, immunotherapy involves boosting a person’s immune system to fight cancer on their own, or with the help of other treatments. This idea isn’t new, but we’ve only recently had enough understanding of our immune systems to safely take advantage of them.

Surgery

Like cancer, doctors are always looking for ways to make surgery quicker and less invasive. Surgeons depend on robotic tools and advanced software to guide them through their work, and we as patients benefit from less risk and down-time after an operation.

The best advances in surgery are:

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  • Telesurgery: Robots have become common in surgical rooms over the past decade or so, and though they become refined all the time, they are not necessarily modern technology. Telesurgery, however, which uses robots to allow surgeons to operate remotely, is a new and exciting technology that is being successfully explored today.
  • Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery: This refers to a surgeon entering a patient’s body through another opening to safely and more naturally reach the surgery. This is particularly useful for brain surgery, reducing the need to enter through a person’s skull.

Communications and Networking

The efficiency of communications within a hospital is just as important as the equipment and drugs used to treat the patients. Technology has improved this aspect of hospital productivity in more ways than one:

  • Going Paperless: The less paperwork involved in your trip to the hospital, the better for everyone, including the staff. That’s why modern hospitals are replacing paper at every turn- even the nurses carry tablets instead of clipboards. Believe it or not, your medical records are all going paperless too, and for the better. Digitally stored medical records are considered safer, more eco-friendly, and most importantly, efficient for the hospital.

Artificial Organs

You may already be aware that organs very difficult to come by, and hundreds of thousands of people are on waiting lists across the world to receive life-saving donor organs. Artificial organs allow patients to get the help they need without waiting for a perfect match, and there have been major advances in artificial organs lately.

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Notable innovations include:

  • Organ-on-a-chip: This one sounds right out of a science fiction novel, but it’s true that scientists have begun creating functional organs using computer chips. While these organs are not nearly complex enough to use inside humans, they can be used to do incredibly accurate drug tests without the need for living subjects.
  • Tissue Engineering: On the other hand, you have tissue engineering science which has decided to focus on constructing living tissue into natural organs. This science has a lot of promise, though the complexity of the organ affects the success of tissue engineering. The stomach, for example, is easy to create in a lab, while the heart is much more difficult to grow in its complexity.

Slow But Steady Progress

The research and development of new drugs and tools to help medical professionals save lives costs money and takes lots of time. The world’s brightest minds are on the case, though, making improvements to the way we diagnose and treat patients. We’re far from having the ideal medical science, but we get a little closer every day.

If you need medical treatment, be sure to do research about your medical facility to ensure they’re using top-line medical practices and equipment.

Featured photo credit: Modern Hospitals via lifehack.org

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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