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Get Your Copy of The Guide to the Future of Medicine

My new book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, is available in paperback and Kindle formats. Here is the description made by Amazon:

A few short years ago, it would have been hard to imagine that exoskeletons could enable paralyzed people to walk again; that billions of people would rely on social media for information; and that the supercomputer Watson would be a key player in medical decision-making. Perhaps more than in any other field, technology has transformed medicine and healthcare in ways that a mere decade ago would have sounded like pure science fiction.

From his unique vantage as a trained physician, researcher, and medical futurist, Dr. Bertalan Mesko examines these developments and the many more down the pipeline. His aim is to assess how the hand of technology can continue to provide the dose of humanity that is crucial to effective healthcare. The Guide to the Future of Medicine: Technology and the Human Touch is his incisive, illuminating roundup of the technologies and trends that will shape the future of medicine.

Patients, medical professionals, and any healthcare stakeholder will find an eye opening, reassuring roadmap to tomorrow’s potential in this accessible and fact-based book. By preparing for the inevitable waves of change, you can make informed decisions about how technology will shape your own well-being.

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Technology Transforming the Doctor-Patient Relationship

There is a report in Medscape about the keynote I gave at the American Society for Clinical Pathology 2014 meeting.

TAMPA, Florida — The practice of medicine is in the midst of a technology-propelled revolution that places patients in the driver’s seat, delegates heard here at the American Society for Clinical Pathology 2014 meeting.

“I think the epatient movement has already begun to change the ecosystem between physicians and patients,” presenter Bertalan Meskó, MD, from Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary, told Medscape Medical News.

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The Medical Futurist Youtube Channel is Coming Soon!

We have been shooting videos all day long and I’m happy to announce that the Medical Futurist Youtube channel is coming soon! Stay tuned!

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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.

Microrobots Swim Through Bodily Fluids

When I wrote about nanorobots living in our bloodstream and detecting diseases before they could even develop in my new book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, some readers said that might be a too futuristic concept. Now, here is a great report on Medgadget about microrobots that can swim through bodily fluids. These are developed with the long-term goal of transporting drugs to places in the body we cannot reach now.

A collaboration between scientists in Europe and Israel has developed a novel propulsion system modeled on scallops that can move tiny objects through many of the body’s fluids. The tiny scallop is powered by an external magnetic field that makes the device open and close. Because bodily fluids are typically non-Newtonian, meaning their viscosity changes depending on how fast an object is moving through them, flapping the scallop’s opposing shells at different speeds on the closing than the opening stroke allows it to propel confidently in one direction.

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We might be still far away from developing functional nanorobots, but such microrobots definitely represent an important step into that direction.

Winners of the Nokia Sensing Challenge Were Announced

Yesterday, the winners of the Nokia Sensing Challenge were announced. I have followed the steps of all the 10 finalists for some time and I wasn’t surprised to see which team actually won the competition with the $25,000 grand prize. Here is the official announcement:

Congratulations to Cambridge, MA-based DMI, the $525,000 Grand Prize winner.  The five $120,000 Distinguished Awards went to Biovotion (Zurich, Switzerland), Eigen Lifescience (Stanford, CA), Endotronix Wireless Health Monitoring (Woodbridge, IL), Golden Gopher Magnetic Biosensing (Minneapolis, MN), and GUES (London, England).  Your groundbreaking innovations in the area of health sensing technology will revolutionize the way we consume healthcare, offering us more data, more control and more choices.

And here is the winner team, DMI from the United States:

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How Robots Could Help Beat Ebola

I recently had a radio interview on NPR Health about how I think robots could and should be used in dealing with the ebola outbreak.

You can listen to the interview and read my lines here.

A crucial reason Ebola hasn’t taken off more widely in the United States and elsewhere is that it’s spread only by direct human-to-human contact involving bodily fluids. What if technology could create distance between the virus and the health care worker – remove the human touch?

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