An interview was just published on the MedicalExpo e-magazine. I expressed quite radical views on the need for patient empowerment. I hope you will enjoy it.
Posts from the ‘e-patient’ Category
I see enormous technological changes heading our way. If they hit us unprepared, which we are now, they will wash away the medical system we know and leave it a purely technology–based service without personal interaction. Such a complicated system should not be washed away. Rather, it should be consciously and purposefully redesigned piece by piece. If we are unprepared for the future, then we lose this opportunity.
I wrote a book “The Guide to the Future of Medicine: Technology AND The Human Touch” to prepare everyone for the coming waves of change, to be a guide for the future of medicine that anyone can use. It describes 22 trends and technologies that I think will shape the future.
Here are the real examples and practical stories about why these are leading the waves of change. Read the whole stories and more examples in the book.
- E-Patient Dave demonstrated what the relationship between patient and doctor should be like.
- PatientsLikeMe.com and smartpatients.com let patients discover each other and share stories.
- CrowdMed.com was designed to help patients crowdsource crucial information.
- By playing games on Lumosity.com, our memory, flexibility, attention, and focus can be improved.
- The Quantified Self movement has recently started to transform into the “Quantified Us” movement.
- The smartphone application “Zombies, Run!” requires the runner to pick up virtual supplies and escape from virtual zombie hordes making exercise more motivated.
- The Microsoft Kinect 3D sensor is able to monitor and analyze performance in real time, giving patients feedback as they exercise and complete assignments.
Eating in the future
- Foodini aims at printing out food using fresh ingredients. It can make ravioli, cookies, or crackers.
- The Cultured Beef project aims to make commercially available meat created by harvesting muscle cells from a living cow.
- TellSpec is a hand–held device designed to determine what macronutrients or specific ingredients the food contains.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
- Dr. Rafael Grossmann became the first surgeon to demonstrate the use of Google Glass during a live surgical procedure.
- Eyes–On™ Glasses uses imaging technology to find the location of the most suitable vein.
- Google is working on a multi–sensor contact lens that would work with Google Glass, other wearables, Android smartphones and even smart televisions.
- An autonomous remote–presence robot called RP–VITA is used in monitoring surgical patients before, during, and after their operations.
- In its 2014 e–health report Deloitte called e–visits the house calls of the 21st century.
- Video consultation is becoming a routine part of care offered by the Stanford Hospital & Clinics.
Re-thinking the Medical Curriculum
- The “Healing Blade” card game takes medical students into a world of sorcery and creatures where real–world knowledge of infectious diseases and therapeutics play a pivotal role in the winning strategy.
- At Radboud University Medical Center, they are currently working on a revolutionary new medical curriculum.
Surgical and humanoid robots
- In underdeveloped regions, surgical robots could be deployed so that operations are performed by surgeons who control the robots from thousands of kilometers away.
- The new version of the daVinci system, called Xi, was released by Intuitive Surgical in 2014.
- Medical drones could deliver supplies and drugs to conventionally unreachable areas.
- The shipping cost of our sample will be more expensive than the cost of actually sequencing our genome.
- In years, we will stop talking about personalized medicine as it will no longer be anything special.
- Oxford Nanopore released its MinION sequencer that can read short DNA fragments, exists on a USB drive sized device, and can perform the actual sequencing on a laptop.
- Using devices to measure numerous health parameters is not only possible in the ivory tower of medicine as 2014 is the year of the wearable revolution.
- The world’s lightest and thinnest flexible sensor system will produce stress–free wearable healthcare sensors.
- The smart bra has successfully been tested in over 500 breast cancer patients detecting the disease.
- The Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize promises to award $10 million to the first team to build a medical tricorder.
- An estimated 500 million smartphone users, including medical professionals, consumers, and patients, will be using a healthcare–related application by 2015.
- Physicians will prescribe a lot more applications than medications to their patients.
Growing orgains in labs
- Biomaterials such as liver tissue and skin have been successfully printed out.
- In 2014 scientists succeeded in regenerating a living organ, the thymus, which produces immune cells.
- Citizen scientists are changing the way research is performed.
- BioCurious, a hackerspace for biotech, opened with the mission statement that innovations in biology should be accessible, affordable, and open to everyone.
- Theranos develops a radical blood–testing service that requires only a pinprick and a drop of blood to perform hundreds of lab tests from standard cholesterol checks to sophisticated genetic analyses.
The 3D Printing Revolution
- Printing medical devices, living tissues, then eventually cells and pharmaceuticals might not be far away from everyday use.
- Lee Cronin, a chemist at the University of Glasgow, wants to do for the discovery and distribution of prescription drugs what Apple did for music.
- RoboHand has begun developing a low–cost printed leg prosthesis.
- Ekso Bionics designs and develops powered exoskeletons that could make walking possible again for paralyzed people.
- Bespoke Innovations went further in customization to make beautifully designed prosthetics based on the patient’s needs and personality.
Full Physiological Simulation
- Supercomputers could run analyses on thousands of drug targets on billions of patient models in silico.
- HumMod is a simulation system that provides a top–down model of human physiology from organs to hormones.
- The Wyss Institute and a team of collaborators seek to link ten human organs–on–chips to imitate whole–body physiology.
- Watson is perhaps the most important supercomputer, and one of the first to enter the artificial intelligence (AI) market in our time.
- Using 500 randomly selected patients for its simulations, the AI models cost $189 whereas treatment–as–usual cost $497.
- Tiny nanorobots in our bloodstream could detect diseases and send alerts to our smartphones or digital contact lenses before disease could develop in our body.
- The first DNA nanodevice that survived the body’s immune defense was created in 2014.
Hospitals of the Future
- NXT Health designed and funded a prototype of the future hospital rooms intended to reduce infections, falls, errors and ultimately costs.
- The Walnut Hill Medical Center in Dallas has been referred to as the Apple experience hospital due to its design and innovative nature.
- Japanese scientists could map one second’s worth of activity in the human brain with K computer, the fourth most powerful supercomputer in the world.
- Optogenetics shows the potential to provide new therapies for several medical conditions such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, or depression.
- Dr. Kevin Warwick managed to control machines and communicate with others using only his thoughts with a cutting–edge neural implant.
The Rise of Recreational Cyborgs
- In 2016, Zurich, Switzerland will host the first championship sports event under the name Cybathlon for parathletes using high–tech prostheses, exoskeletons, and other robotic and assistive devices.
- Chris Dancy is usually referred to as the world’s most connected man. He has between 300 and 700 systems running and collecting real–time data about his life at any given time.
- A research performed in Pennsylvania in May, 2014 tested a new method of freezing gunshot victims while doctors tried to save their lives.
- The Cryonics Institute in Clinton Township, Michigan stores hundreds of cryopreserved people and animals along with DNA and tissue samples.
There are thousands of reasons why to look forward to the future of medicine!
The waves of technological changes coming towards us will generate new possibilities as well as serious threats to medicine and healthcare. Every stakeholder must prepare for these changes in order to reach a balance between using disruptive technologies in medicine and keeping the human touch. I remain confident that it is still possible to establish that balance and there are reasons for patients to look forward to the next few years in medicine. Here are 5 of them.
1) Health management: The vast majority of people only deal with their health when they get sick. It is due to the fact that it has been really difficult to obtain useful data about our health. Now, the wearable revolution produces a lot of devices that bring health data measurements to our homes. So far, only physicians and hospitals could measure parameters, but today anyone can. Whether it is ECG, blood pressure, pulse, oxygen saturation, EEG or sleep, devices which we can order online provide us with the chance of changing lifestyle based on informed decisions.
Such devices will eventually get smaller and cheaper, and we will hopefully only use them when it is of help.
2) Partnership: Medicine is a paternalistic system with the doctor being on the top making decisions about the patients. The digital revolution has changed it dramatically as now information, devices and even studies became widely available to anyone with an internet connection. This newly formed partnership makes it possible to be equal with the caregiver and play an equal role in making decisions. This will create an ecosystem in which patients get more possibilities to take care of themselves, while physicians will get help from their own patients. Jackpot. Although, a very old system has to be deconstructed for this.
3) Communities: Social media is not famous for connecting patients, but several stories proved its potential power in connecting patients with like-minded others. We have done discussed our health concerns with our neighbors before. Now we do the same online without limitations and physical boundaries. Blogs, community sites, forums, Youtube and Twitter channels focus on patients and let them have their voices heard. As Kerri Morrone Sparling said, her doctor is an expert but can only understand what she goes through every single day if he/she is diabetic, otherwise he/she can only guess.
4) Access to data: The Blue Button movement and E-Patient Dave’s talks encourage people to understand how important it is to own your own health data. It is not only unbelievable but actually outrageous that many hospitals and practices cannot communicate online with each other. Moreover, in others, patients who want to get their own X-Ray image must provide an empty CD disk to get it in the era of digital revolution. As it is not rocket science, we can expect to see major steps forward in this area. Without proper health data, informed medical decisions cannot be made.
5) Prediction and prevention: Never in the history of medicine patients have had that many opportunities to predict and actually prevent diseases. Anyone can order genetic tests that tell them what rare conditions and mutations they carry and what drugs they are genetically sensitive for. We are not far away from doing a blood test or sequencing genes at home. In this sea of opportunities, the activity and participation of patients are very much needed, In a few years’ time, we will have to deal with the problem of too many choices regarding wearable devices. What is required for making good decisions is knowledge about where we are heading; and skills to make our own assumptions.
If changes happen as expected, patients will benefit the most of a newly constructed and entirely better healthcare system.
My new book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, includes more details and an actual guide about how to prepare properly for the technological changes.
The concept of the “patients included act” was developed by Lucien Engelen of the REshape Center from the of Radboud University Medical Center in 2010. Conferences featuring actual patients as speakers or attendees could receive this prestigious badge.
Now, Prof. Dr. Melvin Samson, chairman of the Board of the Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen awarded the British Medical Journal a special “Patients Included” certificate to acknowledge and encourage their focus on the involvement of patients in the field of medical publishing. Well done!
Having witnessed the development of the globally known patient portal, Patientslikeme, over the last few years, I was not surprised to see the news:
PatientsLikeMe announced today a five-year agreement with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, to explore use of PatientsLikeMe’s global online patient network to develop innovative ways of researching patients’ real-world experience with disease and treatment. The agreement is the first broad research collaboration between PatientsLikeMe and a pharmaceutical company and provides PatientsLikeMe the opportunity to expand its patient network in oncology.
“We envision a world where patient experience drives the way diseases are measured and medical advances are made. Genentech’s leadership and commitment to this mission brings us closer to having patients at the true center of healthcare,” said PatientsLikeMe Co-founder and Chairman Jamie Heywood. “With Genentech we can now embark on a journey to bring together many stakeholders across healthcare and collaborate with patients in a new way.”
It was a huge pleasure to announce that E-Patient Dave, the world’s leading e-patient, would present in my university course entitled Social Media in Medicine on the 5th of November in Budapest. The presentation took place as a part of the curriculum, but I made the event public so anyone could attend.
Dave gave a great presentation about how e-patients shape the future of healthcare and my students had some interesting questions. He was like a rock star!