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Bill Gates may have built his fortune and his reputation as a technological whiz kid who helped make personal computers a ubiquitous part of our lives, but his lasting legacy may be his commitment to philanthropy. Gates has devoted himself admirably to advancing healthcare on a global stage, and he’s jumped into this subject with the same sort of thoughtful and analytical approach he brought to hardware and software design. Understandably, he has some thoughts on where healthcare technology is going in 2019, and they’re worth listening to.

Stomach Disease Screening

While a lack of healthcare infrastructure in developing nations is a major problem, just as concerning is the lack of affordability. For less developed nations where good nutrition is still a scarcity, gut diseases like environmental enteric dysfunction can magnify issues of malnutrition. That’s what makes the latest development from Massachusetts General Hospital such a game changer. Taking the form of a swallowable probe, this advancement allows for a thorough diagnosis of a variety of gut diseases without the need for anesthesia or major surgery.

Premature Birth Risk Analysis

Maximizing efficiency is a necessity in practically any discipline, and America is experiencing an alarming increase in premature births. The fact that it’s more prevalent in disproportionately impoverished and underrepresented communities makes it doubly alarming. That’s what makes researcher Stephen Quake’s development of blood test Aknaw Dx so exciting. It allows doctors to identify mothers with a higher risk of pre-term birth, providing a route to preventative rather than reactionary solutions.

Voice Assistants

While voice assistants (VAs) like Alexa and Google Home are becoming increasingly popular in the modern home, they can play a more critical role in hospitals and the offices of private practitioners. While healthcare-focused VAs are still in their primitive stages, they show a lot of promise. By alleviating the workload of doctors and nurses, they can reduce the risk of burnout, and they can even help direct patients through the process of self-care to minimize the threat of complications and unnecessary doctor visits. Combined with wearables like EKG monitors, this technology can automate much of the administrative work and help medical caregivers focus on the bigger picture.

Unique Cancer Vaccines

What makes cancer so dangerous and hard to treat is the fact that it reacts to different people in dramatically unpredictable ways. Biotech companies Genentech and BioNTech are working together to create vaccines that are personalized to the patient. By taking into account their genetic makeup, the nature of cancer, and environmental factors, these vaccines could more readily combat cancer cells in the body.