The Next Decade of Healthcare

So what’s the future of medicine? Check out this review of six key areas that will advance medicine over the next ten years.

1) Genetics and epigenetics for personalized wellness.

Genetics and epigenetics will be the standard for indicating personalized diets to prevent weight gain, and to manage or prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer. The understanding of the disease risk markers will be more precise and lead to greater personalized treatment options for many conditions. Prevention strategies will also be more relevant, as continued research will uncover how genes most responsible for a certain disease state, “turn on or off. “

2) No more “one size fits all” approach.

One-size-fits-all medicine for drug prescriptions, prevention, chemotherapy, etc. will be a thing of the past. Genetic factors like ethnicity, metabolism and data culled by artificial intelligence will be factored into prescribing the right drug for the right patient. Companies like Pathway Genomics offers individualized tests that can provide you with insight about your genetics for a more personalized care program with your healthcare provider.

3) Technology—apps and smart devices will be smarter.

Wireless applications will monitor and dynamically manage your personalized healthcare. Massive amounts of data are collected and saved; spanning many platforms like medical records, crowd sourcing and even tracking devices. Artificial intelligence can make sense of these types of datasets and bring to light relevant information useful in diagnostics and proactive health and lifestyle choices. Data security will also be top-of-mind, in order to comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA.).

4) Democratization of Medicine—access for all.

As a result of many technological advances applied to the field of medicine, access to the best possible healthcare and outcomes will be available to everyone. Advances in medical devices that are more portable, mobile, wireless and specialized make medicine more accessible. For example, mobile stroke units, specialized ambulances that treat stroke patients with immediacy, work in conjunction with telemedicine. They have the ability to save more lives because of quick response, onboard CT scanner, and specially trained teams. Currently, only 15% of stroke victims receive care within the three-hour window that allows for life-saving medical interventions.

5) Artificial Intelligence (AI) helps humans.

AI will help to personalize the correct medical treatment, or to prevent medical issues from happening in the first place. AI applies multiple data variables of “omics,” (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics) to the transformation of global health. For example, IBM Watson can take unstructured data and study it at the rate of 40 million documents in 15 seconds. Watson can help physicians provide personalized care with better diagnostics.

6) People are living longer.

There are many reasons why lifespans are increasing. Biomedicine is key in this growth, as well as drug pipelines, a convergence of technologies, advances in genetics screenings, and overall health consciousness. The next few decades will see a growth in the population of aging people.

Converging technologies have revolutionized many areas our lives and its effect on modern healthcare is exponential. We live in a world where a surgical procedure could include the use of 3D printed bones and tissues, or robotic medical devices that allow mobility for those who can no longer stand or walk. You can now make a visit with a doctor with just your cell phone and no appointment. Drones deliver medicine and supplies to those in remote places. These technologies are available now, and the next decade will make the future now with these ways of delivering high-tech healthcare to everyone.

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