Moshe Lichtenstein is the chief executive and founder of One8Innovation. Photo: Supplied
Moshe Lichtenstein is the chief executive and founder of One8Innovation. Photo: Supplied

Health innovations to look out for in 2021

By Opinion Time of article published Jan 21, 2021

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By Moshe Lichtenstein

A significant part of 2020 was riddled by the Covid-19 pandemic, thus negatively affecting the healthcare sector.

To combat some of the challenges in treating conditions such as Covid-19 and the healing of chronic wounds, there are several healthcare innovations to look out for, at present and throughout the year ahead.

According to WHO Health Innovation Group (Whig), a sister group of the World Health Organization (WHO) whose premise is to endorse and pursue health innovation within the organisation, “health innovation is to develop new or improved health policies, systems, products and technologies, and services and delivery methods that improve people’s health, with a special focus on the needs of vulnerable populations.”

Following an article published by McKinsey & Company in November 2020, there are two key healthcare innovations to look out for in treating Covid-19.

First is the special stethoscope that is used in Israel, by Sheba Medical Centre in collaboration with TytoCare. This special stethoscope was designed to ensure that Covid-19 patients receive the necessary healthcare while they remain in their homes. The innovative feature of this device is that it listens to the patients’ hearts and displays images of their lungs to a care team that can come to their aid at any given time.

The second healthcare innovation is in the US, wherein Zipline, a drone delivery company that delivers medical supplies to remote areas, has partnered with Novant Health in North Carolina, where they use drones to dispense supplies to hospitals.

Coming to South Africa and not falling short of another innovation to anticipate in the healthcare sector is ActiGraft, an innovative treatment that heals chronic wounds by using patients’ blood, and is used daily by all the leading wound care clinicians in South Africa.

The innovative feature that sets ActiGraft apart from other chronic wound treatments is that it is the only autologous biologic wound care product available in South Africa that actively promotes the wound healing of non-healing wounds. Not only that, ActiGraft is particularly different from current treatments and procedures in chronic wound treatments.

Furthermore, ActiGraft actively pushes the body to heal the non-healing wounds and thus can heal wounds no other treatment can heal. It is a powerful treatment to prevent the amputation of limbs.

Moreover, healing a non-healing wound has a profound effect on the patient’s life, allowing them to be mobile again, thereby eliminating severe pain, avoiding infection and saving money due to prolonged repeated non-effective treatments.

While highlighting some of the trends that can be observed in medical technology, it is imperative to acknowledge the factors grossly affecting the healthcare sector, as this has resulted in the urgency for the healthcare sector to urgently adopt innovative ways for effective healthcare.

Essentially, enhanced innovation trends, particularly in the healthcare sector, needs healthcare practitioners to be harbingers of a healthcare system that is more effective, resourceful and fair.

Moshe Lichtenstein is the chief executive and founder of One8Innovation

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