Here is the cover of my upcoming book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine. Only a few days left before it becomes available in paperback and e-book formats on Amazon.com.
Over one year of hard work, 70 interviews and 22 trends that will shape the future of medicine. My mission is to prove that it is possible to find a balance between using technologies and keeping the human touch in practicing medicine at the same time.
I cannot wait to hear what you think about it! Stay tuned for more details about the book in the coming days!
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!
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.
As amedical futurist, 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 become equal partners with their caregivers.
I launched The Social MEDia Course, the e.learning format of my university course focusing on medicine and social media for medical students, physicians and also patients with Prezis, tests and gamification.
Medical curriculum worldwide cannot meet the needs of today’s e-patients and technologies any more, therefore there is time for a substantial change. Good examples are sporadic but at least exist. At Monash University, they developed a kit of 3D-printed anatomical body parts to revolutionize medical education and training. I studied anatomy when I was a medical student from books with tiny font sizes and old atlases. Here is how it can be a different experience.
The 3D Printed Anatomy Series kit, to go on sale later this year, could have particular impact in developing countries where cadavers aren’t readily available, or are prohibited for cultural or religious reasons. After scanning real anatomical specimens with either a CT or surface laser scanner, the body parts are 3D printed either in a plaster-like powder or in plastic, resulting in high resolution, accurate color reproductions.
Moreover, in the Netherlands, a 3D bioprinting Masters program was just introduced and now they plan to become a global centre of bioprinting. This is how medical schools and institutions worldwide should aim at adopting new technologies. This is what the main organizer said:
“There will be 120 researchers completely dedicated to regenerative medicine and biofabrication. Our main work within the bioprinting facility in the early stages is on cartilage and underlying bones. For this type of biological structures, bioprinting technologies are mature and the development of bioinks is taking off exponentially. Our goal is to create a hub of knowledge focused on Utrecht while reaching out to the international scientific community.”
If we don’t change curriculum worldwide, it will be late to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s world.
I just heard the news that the first fully digital (entirely paperless) hospital will open in Abu Dhabi in 2015. The clinic worked with experts from the famous Cleveland Clinic, the No. 4 ranked best hospital in the United States. This might be a good step towards changing the hospital experience not only for professionals working there but more importantly for patients to make it a place where they go to re-energize themselves.
“The fact that a unified medical record is going to exist will provide seamless communication, which means there is an opportunity for us to communicate back and forth with the main campus and elsewhere in the healthcare system, without having the patient have the responsibility of carrying paper,” Harrison was quoted in the article as saying.
The 13-storey LEED Gold-Certified facility in Al Maryah Island will have five Centers of Excellence: Heart & Vascular Institute, Digestive Disease Institute, Eye Institute, Neurological Institute, and Respiratory & Critical Care Institute, according to anEmirates 24/7article. It will have 364 beds, five clinical floors, three treatment and diagnostic levels, 26 operating rooms, and 13 floors of acute and critical care units.
After fulfilling my childhood dream of becoming a doctor and a geneticist, I decided to make a brave change in my academic career and tried to merge my two selves: the doctor and the geek. As there was no profession like that, I created one. This is how I started discovering the steps needed to become a medical futurist. There is no clear path or course for that, therefore I try to reveal more and more pieces of information about this exciting journey in a series of blog entries.
The last years of this journey culminated in the book I’ll release in about 4-5 weeks. The Guide to the Future of Medicine features all the trends, technologies and concepts we will all have to face soon in medicine and healthcare. During the time I was writing the book, my method of gathering information and expert opinions worldwide had to significantly improve.
Besides trying all the traditional methods futurists usually use such as scenario planning, I came to the conclusion that networked foresight is the format I’m most familiar with. As I have been crowdsourcing medical information, sometimes even diagnoses, through my social media channels for years, I turned to this expert network to get insights nobody else could get.
It led to identifying around 100 experts from genomics to surgical robotics and doing about 70 interviews; moreover I used these online networks dedicated to determining the future of medicine to gather additional information and details to make the book as comprehensive and fact-filled as possible.
When it comes out, hopefully, you will understand why I chose and customized this method to get the best potential results and will realize, just as I did, how hard and exciting it is to try to predict the future.