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How to keep your job in the coming waves of new technologies?

A lot of medical professionals are worrying about their jobs whether they lose it in the near future due to the coming waves of new technologies. Many of them think they will get replaced by robots and algorithms. My theory about the future focuses on the balance between using disruptive technologies and keeping the human touch. It means we do need to interact with people, although robots and algorithms could perform much better than humans in many areas. But why not combining both?

One of the major obstacles is physicians being resistant to the adoption of new technologies because they are afraid. I think they should not be. Here is how to make sure you will keep your job in the future whether you work in medicine or not.

1) Be a master of information management: Being up-to-date and getting access to the right information at the right time should be a master skill for all of us. Tackling the information pollution is going to be a basic skill but as long as it is not the case, it is going to be a career advantage. You should be perfectly up-to-date in your fields of interest from now on. It requires some efforts but it’s not rocket science.

2) Know more than your decision makers: Having a better knowledge about ongoing and upcoming trends than those making decisions above or for us will be the key in thinking ahead. You should possess all the potentially useful details and pieces of information that allow you to make a step faster than them.

3) Have a new kind of skill set: In different positions before, it was enough to be good at one thing or two, but in the coming era of inter-connected devices, experts and solutions, a network-based approach is very much needed. This new skill set should include digital literacy; advanced problem solving; project management and perfect communication skills on- and offline whatever position you are working in. If you think it’s enough to be good at one thing, you already lost.

4) Exploit the advantages of being human: There might be an algorithm that once will diagnose with a better success rate than people, but there is a range of reasons why the human touch will always be inevitable and crucial. Make sure to bring those skills to the fore that truly leverage the power of the human connection.

5) Improve constantly mentally and physically: Being human in the future will not automatically represent an advantage. This is why we have to constantly improve our cognitive skills, learn new things and keep ourselves sharp. Wearable devices from activity to sleep trackers; and online services such as Lumosity.com or Focusatwill.com could facilitate that.

6) Prepare for future technologies: Do you have all the required knowledge and skills that let you make your own assumptions about the future? You should know about all the trends and technologies that could assist you in your life or job and be able to fast make informed decisions accurately. It does require preparation from now on. Right now, nobody is ready for what is coming next. But soon we all should be.

7) Automate that can be automated: Making tasks and processes around us automated doesn’t mean we become less human. Contrarily, removing inefficient and unnecessary elements of our daily routine gives us a chance to show why being human will always mean something special and will always be an advantage. If we cannot prove that, we deserve to be replaced.

The battle has only begun and we have a lot to do. But if we stick to these rules, it is going to be hard to replace us. Game on.

The Practical Guide to the Future of Medicine

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.

Empowered Patients

  • 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.

Gamifying Health

  • 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.

Telemedicine

  • 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.

Genomics

  • 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.

Health Sensors

  • 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.

Portable Diagnostics

  • 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.

DIY Biotechnology

  • 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.

Prosthetics

  • 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.

Artificial Intelligence

  • 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.

Nanotechnology

  • 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.

Virtual-Digital Brains

  • 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.

Cryonics, Longevity

  • 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 New Europe 100 List

It is an honor to be included in the “New Europe 100” list. I remain confident that the success of an innovation depends on good ideas and hard work, but not geographical regions.

Res Publica together with Google and the Visegrad Fund in cooperation with Financial Times and dozens of institutions from the region is launching the New Europe 100 project – a list of outstanding challengers from Central and Eastern Europe.

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A few details about the lifestyle of the innovators.

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10 Promising Technologies Assisting the Future of Medicine

Ray Kurzweil says technology is improving at an exponential rate. Peter Thiel says technological innovations couldn’t live up to the expectations. There are plenty of philosophies and schools of thought, but regarding the future of medicine, only two things are certain.

Technology will not solve the problems that healthcare faces globally today. And the human touch alone is not enough any more, therefore a new balance is needed between using disruptive innovations but still keeping the human interaction between patients and caregivers. Here are 10 technologies and trends that could enable this.

You can read the whole article on my Kinja page.

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Five Expectations For Physicians About 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 not only for patients but also for physicians to look forward to the next few years in medicine. Here are 5 of them.

1) Finally focus on patients

Technology is not against physicians and algorithms are not designed to replace them. Instead, by using efficient and simple technologies in the practice, physicians will finally have time and energy to focus on the patients.

Looking into their eyes while inputting data with augmented reality (Google Glass or digital contact lenses); listening to patients instead of trying to find the right information (as IBM Watson provides that already); and having access to all the devices that are needed to provide a good care (smartphones serving as biosensor packages). What is it if not a great prospect?

2) Avoid burning out

With supercomputers being used in medical decision making; physicians having skills related to digital literacy; using intuitive IT solutions that make it simple to input, export and move around data just like how children today use touchscreen devices; and getting access to the medical information they actually need, hours can be saved every week.

With less effort and time, they will be able to provide more care for their patients. This way, patient reward becomes an essential part again in the process of practicing medicine helping caregivers avoid burning out.

3) Use data that patients collect

The wearable revolution in health peaking this year gives patients the chance to take care of their own health, thus measure health parameters that have only been available and accessible in the ivory tower of medicine.

By bringing this data to the doctor visit, they can save time and effort, moreover, a true partnership between them can be established. As devices become better, cheaper and more efficient, physicians can soon start encouraging their patients to measure parameters relevant to their health and the results will be discussed and used during the next visit.

4) Crowdsource, crowdfund and crowdsolve

With the advances of social media and technologies that give access to these channels, no medical professional should feel alone when dealing with a complicated medical problem of challenge.

If information is needed, it can be crowdsourced; if funding is needed for a new project; it can be crowdfunded; and when a real medical solution is needed, they can find that through an inter-connected network of experts, resources and services.

5) Share responsibility with patients

Although it is now the responsibility of physicians to become the guides for their patients online (that requires new skills), by empowering them, actually responsibility can finally be shared. Medical professionals don’t have to make decisions alone, but in a close partnership with the patient.

But for this, every stakeholder must start preparing in time.

 

Twenty-Two Trends Shaping the Future of Medicine: The List

My upcoming book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, will become available on Amazon.com in black&white paperback, colored paperback and Kindle formats in a few days, therefore I thought I would share an excerpt of the table of contents revealing what trends are featured and described in details through stories and a lot of pictures in the book.

Through these, I try to prove that we can use more and more disruptive technologies in medicine while successfully keeping the human touch.

Please feel free to comment on these trends here or by using the #medicalfuture hashtag on Twitter.

  • Empowered Patients
  • Gamifying Health
  • Eating in the future
  • Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
  • Telemedicine and Remote Care
  • Re–thinking the Medical Curriculum
  • Surgical and Humanoid Robots
  • Genomics and Truly Personalized Medicine
  • Body Sensors Inside and Out
  • The Medical Tricorder and Portable Diagnostics
  • Do–It–Yourself Biotechnology
  • The 3D Printing Revolution
  • Iron Man: Powered exoskeletons and prosthetics
  • The End of Human Experimentation
  • Medical Decisions via Artificial Intelligence
  • Nanorobots Living In Our Blood
  • Hospitals of the Future
  • Virtual–Digital Brains
  • The Rise of Recreational Cyborgs
  • Cryonics and Longevity
  • What Will a Brand New Society Look Like?

The Guide to the Future of Medicine ebook cover

How I Completely Re-Wired My Digital Life: 16 Tips

I’ve been massively active online for at least 10 years therefore I have built networks focusing on my favorite topics leading to a point where I invest my time into human intelligence instead of checking hundreds of article titles every day. Although, as others, I often face the problem of being efficient time-wise online as receiving thousands of social media messages a day makes it a real challenge.

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Now I share with you the experience I’ve had in the last 6 months as during that time I have completely re-wired how I use the internet for professional purposes and how I manage my digital life.

Dealing with e-mails: I have to deal with about 200 e-mails a day, the majority of them requiring action from me. I tag e-mails massively in Google Mail and have been teaching Gmail how to categorize my e-mails automatically (important ones, promotions, social media related e-mails, etc.). While some of my colleagues quit using e-mail, I think this is still my information HQ and the official communication channel to me. But I don’t start the morning any more by checking e-mails. Instead, I start the day with reading a chapter in a book. It gives me a great start, plus as my brain is the most active in the early hours, I can learn a lot. After that, I deal with e-mails at specific time periods, otherwise I couldn’t focus properly.

Facebook: I use Facebook for professional purposes and before this time, Facebook was proven to be absolutely useless. But I changed my strategy and unfollowed (hiding their posts from my stream) cc. 1400 out of my 1600 followers. At the same time, I started following about 100 pages focusing on social media and the future of medicine. It means now my Facebook stream is almost free of noise but full of useful information.

Google+: The main streams of my Google+ network are very much hectic, but the communities of Google+ focusing on my areas such as the future, medicine and social media are priceless. Those are the most curated information streams I check every day.

Twitter: This is my key and fastest communication channel. In my experience, people using Twitter can be approached much easier through their Twitter account than via e-mail. As Twitter messages should only contain real information (no garnish), I can respond in seconds. I use Tweetdeck for organizing my streams and get the most important filtered news out of my focused groups easily. Symplur helped me organize topics with new hashtags such as #medicalfuture or #HCSMcourse.

Hand holding a Social Media 3d Sphere

Linkedin: This is my most professional channel. I’ve been working on improving my profile there for years which resulted in an “All-Star” profile as ranked by LinkedIn. I paid for the premium service showing me those who check my profile and might be potential clients. It also puts my profile high up in search results. It is connected to my blog automatically.

Blogging: This is one of the activities I enjoy the most even after 7 years (have written over 5000 blog entries). To be honest, I still use bookmarks for storing the topics I would like to write about and dedicate at least 5 hours a week to blogging. Whatever project I come up with, I can reach thousands of very relevant people with only one blog entry. My blog is a golden mine for me.

The Ultimate Online Resource: I thought I had so many online channels I needed a professional website serving as an umbrella above all those channels. Medicalfuturist.com now shows all my active channels featuring Scienceroll.com and Twitter.com/Berci; and the Medical Futurist Newsletter let me build a network of people interested in the future of medicine. This is now my digital public HQ.

Organizing short- and long-term tasks: One of the toughest challenges I face is organizing the many tasks, projects and jobs I have. The reason why is that although I have thousands of meetings a year and travel a lot, I don’t work in an office and don’t have access to an intellectually rich community in my everyday life. Therefore I have to create this ambiance around me. I use a Google Document with color codes and different sections showing me the tasks of today, of tomorrow, of this week and of this month. Every 4 weeks, I sit down and analyze the long-term goals (months-years) and assign new tasks to my everyday life. This is crucial in order to put effort into things that really matter. This system now makes sure I keep being motivated without artificial or external inputs.

Just before deadline

Bookmarks: When you save tens of thousands of links, a traditional bookmark is not enough any more. The links I might need later are saved and categorized by bit.ly (as I shorten almost all the links I share). By creating bundles, it lets me organize these links in a convenient way.

Web browser: About 2 years ago, I switched from Firefox to Google Chrome and I have no idea why I didn’t start using it earlier. All the devices I use (PC, laptop, tablet and smartphone) have Chrome and it automatically synchronizes my settings, bookmarks and browser history. It makes my life easier.

Automatic updates: There are pieces of information I need to collect through non-structured channels such as search engines. As I don’t have to go back and search for the same things again and again, I use Google Alerts for getting updates about certain topics; and use Pubmed.com‘s Save Search function to get peer-reviewed papers automatically focusing on my areas.

Feedly: While some people think RSS is so web 2.0-ish, I couldn’t live without it as my information resources would be hectic while I need a very much structured way of following resources. Feedly lets me organize websites into categories and now I follow 430 resources easily.

Improving cognitive skills: I’m a huge fan of life-long learning as I believe improving my cognitive skills should be a priority at any point in my life. When I came across Lumosity, I knew I found what I’d been looking for. I’ve been using it for 5 months and I can feel how better I’m at different tasks that require good memory, speed, flexibility or other skills. It only takes 5 minutes a day. When I have to wait somewhere, I grab my phone and use Dr. Newton, a game for improving cognitive skills therefore I always try to do something useful for my brain.

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Focus: Dealing with hundreds of messages and thousands of pieces of information is one thing, but the projects I work on require real focus. In order to make it easier for myself, I use time frames for different tasks (such as checking e-mails or using Twitter) every day and keep other timeframes free for tasks that require real focus. Focus@Will has been proven to facilitate this for me.

Learning new things: No matter, how limited my free time is, I must constantly try to learn new things. As I have wanted to learn to speak Spanish for years, I decided to download Duolingo and follow its instructions as it teaches languages in a gamified and interesting way. I love it.

Physical activities: I cannot work efficiently without living a healthly life and being physically active. I use the wearable Shine to make sure I exercise enough every single day and do include the exercises I have to do every day in my Google Document. I realized I really accomplish things and tasks that are in my time-management Google Document and adding the details of doing physical activities as such tasks to that as well turned out to be a great solution for motivating myself.

I hope this experience of over 6 months will help you be more efficient and successful in your personal and digital lives as well!

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