There are few, if any, sectors or industries that are not being transformed by technology. Healthcare is no exception. When people think of healthcare technology, however, they often think of medical equipment and other devices that directly impact a patient’s health. In truth, however, healthcare technology involves a much broader scope and scale. Here are three emerging healthcare technologies that you may not think of as relating to healthcare.

Artificial intelligence

One of the biggest difficulties doctors face is having to factor in a patient’s entire medical history in order to offer an accurate diagnosis. In many cases, patient records can be incomplete or even be prohibitively extensive. As patient records are digitized and new data is added, artificial intelligence is able to scan thousands of details in a matter of seconds to help doctors recognize and identify a range of issues such as potential drug interactions or even how previous conditions might be affecting a patient’s current symptoms. AI is also capable of looking for minute patterns a human might miss, such as a slight increase in body temperature or slightly elevated heart rate directly preceding certain events.

Blockchain

One of the biggest concerns regarding the digitizing of patient records is cybertheft. Blockchain technology is most famous for securing cryptocurrencies, which involve potentially billions of dollars worth of transactions. If blockchain technology can regulate and keep entire fortunes secure, it is one of the most promising technologies for securing patient records, while still making them easily accessible to appropriate health care providers.

Virtual Reality

For most of history, surgeons have often had to cut the human body open to see what is happening inside. Up until now, even the most modern scanning tools only been able to provide an image of bone and organs, but not soft tissue. As imaging continues to move forward, however, doctors and surgeons will soon have full 3D imaging at their disposal, which can scan bones, organs and even soft tissue. This will allow them to create a precise virtual model of each patient and even practice operating before they make a single slice. VR technology is already being used to allow students to practice incredibly delicate surgeries before they ever pick up a scalpel.