The World Economic Forum has some picks of the top emerging technologies – http://forumblog.org/2012/02/the-2012-top-10-emerging-technologies/
I’ll mention how a few of the listed items are being used in Healthcare. The various technologies are usually used in a combination to provide a solution.
Informatics – Good reports will benefit a patient and reports should target patients rather than doctors. Watch this video about it – http://www.tedmed.com/videos-info?name=Thomas_Goetz_at_TEDMED_2010&q=updated&year=all&sid=57&vid=4
Synthetic biology – This could lead to potentially make human cells with their own machinery and work on diseased cells. For e.g. Sickle-cell disease can maybe benefit from artificial blood-cells for carrying haemoglobin because the patient’s own cells are not doing the job well.
Nanoscale – The article talks about materials but it can be extended to include nanotechnology to make sensors for closer monitoring – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111213110243.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Latest+Science+News%29 or immune cells to fight allergies and diseases.
Systems biology and computational modelling/simulation – I think this kind of technology could drastically reduce drug trials by modelling how they work rather than human trials which take up to a year and bring cures faster to the market. We can also maybe model cancer and other conditions and deduce how they could spread and contain it.
Wireless power – This could be greatly improved for sensors to transmit information and monitor the human body and also replace invasive procedures today.
Take the example of the device from Proteus which is made from edible material and can attach to a capsule so we can monitor how a drug interacts with the human body – http://www.proteusbiomed.com/2012/03/02/partnerships-help-drug-makers-get-closer-to-patients/
Personalized medicine is talked about a lot and basically means that diagnosis and a cure is tailored to a person and uses their genetic data to see if a particular drug would work on a patient. This is called pharmacology. Also, we could see if a person is susceptible to a condition so they can be more closely monitored early on.
Enhanced education technology – though not obvious, this could lead to new, creative solutions because knowledge can be dispersed faster and information becomes more available.