6. Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources

Digital interoperability is technology that will make older methods of communication (eg, fax or telephone) between physicians’ offices, hospitals, or insurance companies next to obsolete.1 The Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources is poised for release in 2017 by an international committee called HL7, a not-for-profit organization “dedicated to providing a comprehensive framework and related standards for the exchange, integration, sharing, and retrieval of electronic health information that supports clinical practice and the management, delivery and evaluation of health services.”11 It will be released in two phases, one focusing on clinical and the other on administrative data.1

7. Ketamine for Treatment-Resistant Depression

Major depressive disorder (MDD), which affects approximately 350 million people, is the leading cause of disability worldwide.12 Currently prescribed antidepressant treatments alleviate symptoms in only approximately half of patients, with diminishing effectiveness in patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD).12 Ketamine inhibits N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, and has historically been used as anesthesia. Several critical studies have supported the efficacy of ketamine as a rapidly-acting treatment for patients with TRD, while some studies also suggest efficacy in bipolar depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).12 Ketamine has been granted Fast Track Status by the FDA toward new NMDA-receptor-targeting medications. Some, such as esketamine, have received breakthrough status, increasing the likelihood that these new agents will be available in 2017.1

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8. 3-D Visualization and Augmented Reality for Surgery

New technologies are poised to expand the toolkit of surgeons beyond microscope oculars or other cameras, or the surgeon’s skilled (but often limited) naked eyes, and their often-strained necks.1 The fields of ophthalmology and neurology have seen the introduction of technology that keeps surgeons’ heads up, while simultaneously providing high resolution. Additionally, stereoscopic systems generate visual templates that can enhance specific tasks during surgery. These not only lead to more efficient and effective surgery, but also facilitate the opportunities for residents to observe the surgery.1 These virtual reality tools are likely to become available in selected hospitals during 2017.1

9. Self-Administered HPV Test

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States and although 90% of infections are asymptomatic and self-resolving, persistent infections with certain strains can cause cancer and genital warts.13 In 2017, an “ambitious approach to expand the care of HPV will be launched.”1 Self-administered test kits that include a test tube, a swab, and a mail-in box will be made available to expand the reach of the HPV test, thereby alerting women to dangerous strains. This test kit represents the “largest scale prevention strategy for cervical cancer prevention to date.”1

10. Bioabsorbable Stents

Coronary heart disease is responsible for about 370,000 deaths each year in the US, and 600,000 individuals annually receive metal coronary stents to prevent coronary artery blockage.15 Bioabsorbable stents, in contrast to metal coronary stents, are less likely to inhibit natural blood flow or cause blood clots.1 In July, 2016, the FDA approved the first fully absorbable stent to treat coronary artery disease. The Absorb GT1 Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold System (BVS) is gradually absorbed by the body in approximately three years.15 It is anticipated that 2017 will be a “game-changing” year for this technology.1


The innovations listed by the Cleveland Clinic make 2017 a year filled with potentially breakthrough medical changes, benefitting both clinicians and patients. Will these changes actually occur as anticipated? That remains to be seen.


  1. Cleveland Clinic unveils top 10 medical innovations most likely to be game changers. Available at: https://newsroom.clevelandclinic.org/2016/10/26/cleveland-clinic-unveils-top-10-medical-innovations-likley-game-changers/. Accessed: December 20, 2016.
  2. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Announcing the National Microbiome Initiative. Accessed: December 20, 2016.
  3. Dash S, Clarke G, Berk M, Jacka FN. The gut microbiome and diet in psychiatry: focus on depression. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2015;28:1-6. doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000117
  4. Foster JA, McVey Neufeld KA. Gut-brain axis: how the microbiome influences anxiety and depression. Trends Neurosci. 2013;36:305-312. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2013.01.005
  5. American Diabetes Association. Statistics about diabetes. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/. Accessed: December 21, 2016.
  6. Brown DA, Urein C. A review of cardiovascular comorbidities of diabetes. AJMC. 2007. Available at: http://www.ajmc.com/journals/supplement/2007/2007-11-vol11-n2preventivemedicine/nov07-2647ps03-s10. Accessed: December 21, 2016.
  7. Dai H, Wang Y, Lu X, Han W. Chimeric antigen receptors modified T-cells for cancer therapy. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2016;108. pii: djv439. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djv439
  8. Burke E. Circulating tumor DNA: A new generation of cancer biomarkers. NIH. National Human Genome Research Institute. Available at: https://www.genome.gov/27556716/circulating-tumor-dna-a-new-generation-of-cancer-biomarkers/. Accessed: December 21, 2016.
  9. Lebofsky R, Decraene C, Bernard V, et al. Circulating tumor DNA as a non-invasive substitute to metastasis biopsy for tumor genotyping and personalized medicine in a prospective trial across all tumor types. Mol Oncol. 2015;9:783-790. doi: 10.1016/j.molonc.2014.12.003
  10. Brown A. The 5 most innovative car safety technologies. Business Insider. April 5, 2016. Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/innovative-car-safety-technology-2016-4/#cadillacs-rear-camera-mirror-improves-rear-visibility-5. Accessed: December 21, 2016.
  11. Health Level 7 International (HL7). Available at: http://www.hl7.org. Accessed: December 21, 2016.
  12. Schwartz J, Murrough JW, Iosifescu DV. Ketamine for treatment-resistant depression: recent developments and clinical applications. Evid Based Ment Health. 2016;19:35-38. doi: 10.1136/eb-2016-102355
  13. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other sexually transmitted diseases. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/stats15/other.htm#hpv. Accessed: December 21, 2016.
  14. Wittet S, Tsu V. Cervical cancer prevention and the Millennium Development Goals. Bull World Health Organ. 2008;86(6):488-490.
  15. US Food and Drug Administration. FDA approves first absorbable stent for coronary artery disease. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm509805.htm. Accessed: December 21, 2016.

This article originally appeared on MPR