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September 06, 2019 | Medical Device
There was a time, about a century-and-a-half ago, when doctors and surgeons used horrifyingly creative devices to cure bodily ills. For instance, in the 19th century, an instrument called the ‘ecraseur’ was used to remove uterine and ovarian tumors and hemorrhoids. The pain it caused was unimaginable, with neither anesthesia nor penicillin having yet been invented. Those were the dark days in the field of medicine and, through a collective effort, the human species has pulled itself out of those nightmarish times. Medical technology has come a long way since then and invention of medical devices can, unequivocally, be called one of mankind’s greatest achievements.
Evolution or Revolution?
A Medical Device is an umbrella term used to identify certain types of diagnostic and surgical tools. The technology has undergone various developmental phases since the 19th century. If a surgeon from the 1850s were to witness an amputation procedure today, she/he would be flummoxed looking at the advanced technology and fighting the urge to pick up the equipment, run to the time machine through which she had arrived, and take the technology back to her times. While the chances of this scenario playing out are a little slim, it is worthwhile to note the importance of medical devices in our everyday lives. These devices have especially made massive strides in the field of diagnostics, so much so that today physicians can use imaging techniques and sneak a peek inside the body without even having to lift a scalpel.
In Sore Need of Medical Attention: The Curious Case of the US
The people of the United States of America probably practice some of the unhealthiest diet regimes in the world. This is the country where the term “junk food” was coined, so it is not much of a surprise to see its people having destructive dietary habits. The result is there for everyone to see: the US has one of the largest obese populations in the world; what diseases are triggered by overweight is common knowledge. Nonetheless, a few figures can have an instructive effect – the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 60% of Americans (6 in 10) suffer from some chronic disease such as diabetes and cancer.
All these disorders require serious medical attention and medical devices play a vital role in screening and diagnosing problems. An accurate diagnosis is the foundation for effective treatment and, depending on the skills of the doctor, a prescient prognosis. A sudden explosion of chronic diseases, aggravated by high stress levels and lack of exercise, has prompted the private and public sector alike into taking decisive action. For example, in 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Reauthorization Act was passed which strengthened initiatives such as the National Evaluation System for health Technology (NEST) through increased public expenditure.
Following this, between 2017 and 2018, around 80 new medical devices were given clearance by the FDA. While the health condition of Americans is in dire straits, the redeeming factor for the US is its robust healthcare infrastructure and an enthusiastic acceptance of modern technology.
How are the Developing Nations Faring?
While the US is grappling with the deteriorating quality of health of its citizens, the developing countries of Asia-Pacific are entering what can only be called as the ‘Era of Accessibility’ to modern medical equipment and diagnostic technology. One of the primary reasons for this is the rising per capita incomes of countries such as India and China. Indian government data on national income recently revealed that India’s per capita income has risen by 10% since 2018. Moreover, government initiatives such as the Ayushman Bharat program is expected to make healthcare facilities even more affordable for the people. If adequate resources are allocated to the healthcare sector, developing countries can become excellent models of sustainable growth, something even the developed West can replicate.
It’s a Process That Should Continue for Eternity
While spectacular progress has been made in medical devices, there should be reason why research and inventions should take a break. Complacency is the worst enemy of success; so, R & D activities need to be incentivized further by the government. What must be remembered is that long-term results are obtained by charting your course, not like a sprint, but like a marathon.
About the Author
Name: Shantanu Ayachit
Shantanu Ayachit is part of a talented team of content writers working in Fortune Business Insights, one of the most promising market research firms in the industry. He has experience in developing quality content and is currently involved in writing articles, press releases, and blogs for the company. He is highly motivated and enjoys putting ideas and thoughts into words to enable the reader to experience a seamless perusal.