What will you be doing ten years from now? How will you be taking care of your health and wellness? What will you be doing to make sure that your family members are living long and healthy lives?
I want to talk about what I believe to be the future of healthcare. While you read, consider what this might look like for you, and how you would like to take part in it.
Innovations seem to happen at light-speed, so I cannot go over each one. Today there are incredible technologies and systems under development. These new innovations will allow for a longer and healthier future for many people.
Let's start thinking beyond the status-quo, and start envisioning a future of greater health and wellness.
Telecommunication technology will have a profound effect on providing health care. Remote care can improve access and decrease costs for the under-served. Telehealth is proving to be a valuable tool in support of clinical education programs. Not only does this reduce costs for patients, but improves their health outcomes.
A good example of a telemedicine service would be software connecting women to fertility doctors in their area. Organizations like Vigilias (and sister company Free State Health Care) can connect a TV in your house to a doctor for remote visits.
The future of healthcare involves more digital-based collaboration between companies. Individuals will soon have access to care virtually wherever they are.
Smart shoes, sleep monitoring devices, smart watches, Google glass, smart gloves...the list goes on and on for wearable tech. The sheer number of potential applications is one clear indicator that this trend will continue to grow and have a major impact on our lives.
In a study conducted by Pricewaterhouse Cooper Consumer Intelligence Series [pdf], they found that “health organizations, including doctors, hospitals, and health insurance companies, are the most trusted when referring wearables to their customers. This provides a big opportunity for healthcare organizations to partner with technology companies to make unique connections with consumers.”
Although wearables have not yet taken over, the future will likely include wearables in countless variations. For example, a retina scanner or blood glucose tracker that shines a light through your skin to measure blood glucose levels.
Mobile Health Apps
With more than 250,000 health apps in the different app stores, this trend is showing no signs of slowing down. According to Fortune.com, mobile health investments have continued to grow each year since 2012.
This is a good sign for the future of healthcare. Connecting the growing numbers of smartphone users to reliable sources of knowledge and advice will be huge. If individuals buy into this trend, the sky's the limit.
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
Machine learning will find things that usually cannot be found using human eyes and a normal set of databases. With access to larger and larger sets of data, machine learning will make predictions that humans could never have imagined. The predictions it makes will only get more accurate as data increases and algorithms get more complex.
A.I. will learn based off of past experiences and be able to help catch health problems before they become critical. These A.I.’s will also take the form of chat bots that can be hosted on various platforms to conveniently answer any questions that someone might have.
These intelligent virtual assistants will help health organizations bring the right information to their patients, all the time, through constant contact.
An emerging technology, think of a blockchain as a transaction ledger that health organizations will use to make the long tedious wait times much quicker. Future Memes put it like this, “[Blockchains are] now used in transactions like Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies to be recorded chronologically.”
If you had an MRI done last year, your doctor today can quickly access this information and know your whole story. This will result in a more personable visit, and increasing health outcomes.
Blockchain personal health record storage is like EMR systems across multiple platforms that combine into one chain. This data is unique to each person. A patient can grant permission to whoever they like.
With the anonymized data, this vast amount of information can also be used for research and data mining.
The pace in which our lives are changing in regards to technology seems to increase each year.
The future of healthcare is dependent on companies collaborating towards a common goal. The aim should be to increase the well being and happiness of all people. In order for technology to make a large impact and for individuals using that technology to fully buy in, we must work together.
With these innovations on the horizon, it is hard to imagine what our future will be like.