Four Old Technologies That Still Make A Difference In Healthcare

Healthcare is a constantly evolving field. Government and private agencies spend billions of dollars on research each year to develop new treatment protocols and technologies that facilitate early diagnosis and improved prognosis.

However, a few old technologies are as relevant today as they were several decades ago. They are efficient and effective and play an important role in patient care. Hospitals, diagnostic laboratories and research facilities across the globe use them in various capacities.


Stethoscope –

The first stethoscope was invented in 1816 by French physician René Théophile Hyacinthe Laennec. The acoustic medical device is still used by cardiologists, internal specialists, pulmonologists, pediatricians, nurses, veterinarians and other medical professionals. It consists of a vibrating membrane known as the diaphragm which is connected to a hollow, air-filled tube. Two earpieces at the end of the tube help doctors listen to your heartbeat, breath and other critical parameters.


Electromyography –

Electromyography machines were made by Canadian researchers in 1942. Although there have been some changes and upgrades to the original version, the basic mechanism remains the same. Your healthcare provider inserts a thin electrode into your muscles and records electrical impulses to determine the health of the tissue. It is used to diagnose neurological illnesses that cause muscle weakness.


Vaccines –

Edward Jenner invented the smallpox vaccine in 1796. Since then, scientists have created hundreds of new vaccines to treat and prevent a variety of infections. Modern versions follow the same basic principle. A component of the pathogen is injected into the human body to prime the immune system. When your body encounters the real pathogen, the immune system recognizes it immediately and produces specific antibodies right away. This helps mitigate the symptoms and prevent the spread of the infection.


Microscope –

Microscope is one of the oldest inventions in the field of medicine. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek constructed a simple microscope in 1674 to observe blood, bugs, fungi and other small organisms. He was the first scientist to describe the structure of the bacteria. To this day, microscopes are used extensively in research and diagnostic laboratories around the world. Scientists and laboratory professionals use the device to look for microorganisms in body fluids and tissues. Many educational institutions also use simple microscopes in their biology class. One look at a website like will tell you that there are many different versions of the device today with varying levels of complexity. However, as with other old technologies, the basic doctrine remains the same.


These old technologies have withstood the test of time and are highly pertinent in the modern world. It speaks volumes about the strength of their underlying principle and the foresight of their inventors.