Every January, I publish my predictions for the upcoming year regarding medicine and healthcare. Usually, the majority of these predictions turn out to be valid later on, although I prefer calling them apparent trends rather...Read more
Being a medical futurist means I work on bringing disruptive technologies to medicine & healthcare; assisting medical professionals and students in using these in an efficient and secure way; and educating e-patients about how to...Read more
I had the pleasure to give a talk at the recent amazing TEDxNijmegen event organized by the team of Lucien Engelen. I described how I used crowdsourcing in social media to find a diagnosis and...Read more
In only a few days’ time, one could read about the potentials of 3D printing in healthcare from different angles. Surgeons in Portugal recreated the tumor and surrounding tissue of a 5-year-old boy’s neuroblastoma using 3D-printing to be able to practice removing the tumor before trying again after failed attempts. In another story, a company tries to create a specialized filament and process for the 3D printing of medical pill capsules. More and more ideas appear online every day about how this technology could be used for medical purposes. Companies such as 3DSystems are in the forefront of innovation.
The NIH is leading a 3D printing competition to find new ways of visualizing scientific and medical data and concepts that can enhance discovery and learning. Amazon just opened its 3D printing store therefore buyers can browse a variety of 3D printed products including jewelry, home decor, tech accessories, and more.
With global doctor shortages and the lack of proper medical equipment in underdeveloped regions, this might be the time for a change in the way how we access these. What if we could just print out in 3D what we need from customized prosthetics to medical equipment? Scanners that create blueprint models of existing objects are already available. Now there are also search engines that let you find a 3D printer near you.
What happens when it becomes possible to print out drugs? Patients don’t get prescriptions any more but only blueprints based on which they get the drugs printed out on demand at the pharmacy completely changing the landscape of the pharmaceutical industry.
There are a lot of questions without an answer or solution now, therefore it is time to discuss these on a global scale. Use the #medicalfuture or #3dprinting hashtags on Twitter and please share what you think!
I’m flying to Melbourne to give a keynote at Australia’s premier digital health, e-health & health informatics conference called HIC 2014. My keynote, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, will feature directions medicine is heading at the moment accompanied by a guide to help everyone prepare for this future world. I’ll live tweet during the event through #hic2014.
Many times I wrote about the wearable gadgets that help me live a healthy life. I know there is a wearable revolution going on but some of the recent announcements make me think whether the list and range of such gadgets ever get rationale. A few examples from the past days:
Smart socks as fitness activity trackers
Smart water bottle to alert you to keep yourself hydrated: “The Hug solution includes a sensor band that wraps around just about any water bottle to track your H2O consumption, and an accompanying mobile app that reminds you to drink when your hydration levels are low.”
Smart ring controlling devices
Smart golf gloves and many more.
The next ones would be smart ear rings and smart nail clippers? Hopefully not.
I cannot wait to reach the point when we get over this phase of hype and start focusing on meaningful developments.
We are facing major changes as medicine and healthcare now produce more developments than in any other era. Key announcements in technology happen several times a year, showcasing gadgets that can revolutionize our lives and our work. Only five or six years ago it would have been hard to imagine today’s ever increasing billions of social media users; smartphone and tablet medical applications; the augmented world visible through Google Glass; IBM’s supercomputer Watson used in medical decision making; exoskeletons that allow paralyzed people to walk again; or printing out medical equipment and biomaterials in three dimensions.
It would have sounded like science fiction. Sooner or later such announcements will go from multiple times a year to several times a month, making it hard to stay informed about the most recent developments. This is the challenge facing all of us.
Based on my white paper and CNN article, I decided to demonstrate where the world of medicine is heading in a a book which will come out late August. The Guide to the Future of Medicine will feature 22 trends and technologies that will shape the future.
My mission with the book is to prove that the relation between the human touch in medicine and using disruptive innovations is mutual. By losing the quintessence of practicing medicine, the real-life doctor-patient relationship, we would lose everything. Although without implementing innovative technologies, it is becoming more and more complicated (if not impossible) to provide proper care.
Therefore this new world requires preparation and new skills must also be acquired. I wrote this book to fulfill this mission.
Here are some of the topics you will be able to read about soon everywhere online before the book comes out.
Health Sensors In and Outside The Body
Artificial Intelligence in Medical Decision Support
Hospitals of the Future
The 3D Printing Revolution
The Rise of Recreational Cyborgs
and many more!
Let’s prepare for the amazing yet uncertain future of medicine together! #medicalfuture
Minsuk Cho, South Korean architect, curates an “epic-scale show about both Koreas” at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale. One of the most exciting projects they present there is the result of how architects of North Korea designed the future of houses and cities without actually ever leaving the country or studying about other city design in details.
Look what kind of futuristic concepts they came up with while, for instance, keeping the old types of phones alive, not really moving forward with the advances of technology.
It clearly shows how important it is to stay up-to-date about how technology is advancing today in order to be able to make informed decisions and assumptions about the future.
This is why I launched a Facebook page under the name The Medical Futurist to curate and publish news, reports and analyses about the most important trends and technologies that will shape the future of medicine. Feel free to join the discussion there!
The new moonshot project from Google is to create a Google Maps of the human body including molecular and genomic information as well. The Personal Genome Project (PGP) had a similar mission years ago, but this one seems to be even bigger.
The 175 healthy people will go through an exam that includes the collection of body fluids like blood and saliva, after which Google X researchers will review what they have learnt and engage researchers at Duke University and Stanford University for a much larger study.
The eventual aim is for Baseline to act as a reference for the chemistry of a well-run, healthy body, and in turn, identify anomalies far earlier. The hope is that the medicine industry moves more towards prevention rather than treatment in response to illnesses.
A major difference is the institution or company standing behind both projects. The PGP was initiated by Harvard University’s Professor George M. Church, while this new project is launched by Google. I have to note though that Google plans to make the results available for “qualified researchers in health”; data collected will be anonymous and not be shared with insurance companies.
But Dan Munro at Re/code immediately shared his concerns about participating in such a study due to legal risks and the level of trust related to Google.
I’m sure Google wants my genetic data — preferably for free of, course — and will say anything in order to get it. Does that mean that it has earned my trust to use that data as part of an ambiguous, long-term experiment? Not with my genetic data. At least not yet. Thanks for the offer, but no thanks.