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Digital Health Rockstars Who Helped Predict The Future Of Medicine

I was very lucky to have the chance to conduct interviews with dozens of experts when I was writing my book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine. I learnt from them and used their insights for shaping my views about how technology will dramatically change medicine and healthcare in the upcoming years. Here is a list of people who and companies that helped predict the future:

  • Professor Steve Mann, one of the first cyborgs
  • Chris Dancy, the most connected man
  • E-Patient Dave drBronkart, e-patient guru
  • Denise Silber, organizer of Doctors 2.0 and You.
  • Lucien Engelen, Director REshape Center for Innovation at Radboud University Medical Center
  • Dr. Catherine Mohr, Vice President of Medical Research at Intuitive Surgical, developers of the da Vinci surgical robot
  • Professor Robert S. Langer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Jack Andraka, inventor, scientist
  • Dr. Rafael Grossmann, surgeon futurist, Google Glass user
  • NerdCore Medical developing educational games in medicine
  • Blake Hannaford, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Co-Founder at Applied Dexterity Inc.
  • Jacob Rosen Ph.D., Professor at UCLA
  • Joel Dudley, Ph.D., Director of Biomedical Informatics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • George Church, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School
  • Edward Abrahams, Ph.D., President of the Personalized Medicine Coalition
  • Professor Takao Someya, Organic Electronics
  • Dr. David Albert, Founder & Chief Medical Officer at AliveCor
  • Professor Anthony Atala, Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine
  • Organovo, bio 3D printing
  • Michael Molitch-Hou, Author at 3D Printing Industry
  • Ekso Bionics
  • Robert Hester, PhD, University of Mississippi Medical Center
  • Casey Bennett, Dept. of Informatics, Centerstone Research Institute
  • András Paszternák, Ph.D., founder of nanopaprika.eu
  • OpenBCI
  • Interaxon
  • Organizers of the first cyborg Olympic Games, Cybathlon
  • Davecat, the first technosexual
  • Ian Pearson, futurist

The Guide to the Future of Medicine ebook cover

Ethical Issues of The Future of Medicine: The Top 10

While I was writing my book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, I was constantly thinking about all the ethical issues disruptive technologies will make us face in the coming years. I’m a born optimist and if you look at recent developments in medicine & healthcare, you realize optimism can now be based on facts. Although, without being prepared for the coming waves of change, physicians, patients and all stakeholders will only come across threats, ethical issues and serious problems when they try to implement technology into everyday care.

I remain confident that we are still in time and we can still prepare for the amazing yet uncertain future of medicine. What is definitely needed, among others things such as new skills, is initiating public discussions now. It was my intention when I made a list of 10 potential ethical issues we will all have to deal with soon.

1) Hacking medical devices

It has already been proven that pacemakers and insulin pumps can be hacked. Security experts have warned us that someone would be murdered through these methods any time soon. How can we prevent wearable devices that are connected to our physiological system from being hacked and controlled from a distance?

2) Defending our privacy

We share much more information about ourselves now than we think. Check mypermissions.org to see what services and apps you have given permission to access your personal information already. What if we start using augmented reality contact lenses and get information about people immediately? Kids being born these years represent the first generation of which every life detail is getting logged. While such big data could significantly improve healthcare, how to prevent companies and governments from using these?

3) Scanning ourselves at home

Now physicians are worried because patients do Google their symptoms and treatments and they might take the misinformation they find there to the caregiver. What will be doctors worried about when patients scan themselves, do a blood test and even genetic analysis at home? Will we able to persuade such patients to turn to doctors and not only trust algorithms? If you think that is still science fiction, check the finalist of the Nokia Sensing XChallenge.

4) Healthy people switching to technology

Matthew James was born with dysmelia, a congenital disorder causing deformed limbs. James wrote to his favorite Formula One team, Mercedes, at age 14 that he was ready to display their logo on his prosthesis if they could support him financially. He received £30,000 but was not taken up on his offer of advertising space. This story shows that the implementation of such innovations in the everyday lives cannot depend purely on individual entrepreneurship. As a consequence, what if people start asking their doctors to replace their healthy limbs for robotic ones?

Prosthetic arm

5) Biological differences

Today, societies struggle to fight gender and financial inequality. But from the time technology can truly augment human capabilities, people will get smarter, healthier and faster only by being able to afford them. How do we prepare society for a time when financial differences lead to biological ones?

6) How society changes if we can prolong life

Longevity studies have been going on for decades. Several aspects about the ultimate secrets of long life have been discovered, but we haven’t really got closer to significantly prolong life. Sooner or later, we will. What happens with the basics of society if the majority of us start living for more than 100 years? How can we make sure that ageing doesn’t necessarily get associated with severe decline in health?

7) Bioterrorism due to nanotechnology

In the wildest futuristic scenarios, tiny nanorobots in our bloodstream could detect diseases. After a few decades they might even eradicate the word symptom inasmuch as no one would have them any longer. These microscopic robots would send alerts to our smartphones or digital contact lenses before disease could develop in our body. If it becomes reality, and microrobots swimming in bodily fluids are already out there, how can we prevent terrorists from trying to hack these devices controlling not only our health but our lives?

bigstock-Nanobots-7414004

8) Technological developments vs. evidence based medicine

Over the last few years, technological advances have become so fast, it’s really hard to keep track of them any more. In the meantime, evidence based medicine shapes how we deliver healthcare. The latter is a fundamentally long process. Certain solutions such as simulations with cognitive computers might make them faster but these could never be as fast as technological developments. When patients start seeing the amazing innovations out there not being accessible to them in the everyday care, how will it transform the basic ways of practicing medicine?

9) Transhumanism & Singularitarianism

There are movements and philosophies that highlight one concept or approach even though it is highly unlikely that one solution will lead to a prosperous future. A network of interconnected people, devices, and concepts is intended to solve global issues. It is advisable not to trust just one movement or philosophy such as transhumanism or singularitarians. The most plausible solution will be a mix of all the concepts trying to describe the coming decades. We should be skeptical and analytical before accepting major philosophies about the future. In the history of mankind the number of new philosophies has never increased as fast as it is doing now. But it has never been easier to learn more about them.

10) Sexuality becoming technological

A man named Davecat lives with his wife and mistress, both of whom are Synthetiks––specially designed, life–sized Dolls. Accordingly, Davecat calls himself a technosexual. While some will not understand how Davecat thinks about his partners, his story represents perfectly the diversity of concepts and theories that will arise in the next couple of years. How can we prepare for all these if we cannot even solve today’s issues in sexuality?

davecat_130907

What have I missed? Please leave a comment and start the discussion now!

Read more about the ethical issues of the future of medicine in my recent book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine!

The Guide to the Future of Medicine ebook cover

10 Things How Artificial Intelligence Could Make Me a Better Doctor

I was watching the movie Her for the second time and I was fascinated again about the scene in which the main character played by Joaquin Phoenix got his new operating system with artificial intelligence (AI) and started working with that. I couldn’t stop thinking about the ways I could use such an AI system in my life and how it actually could make me a better doctor.

Don’t get me wrong, I think empathy and great communication with patients can make a doctor better primarily, but as the amount of medical information out there is exponentially growing; as the time for dealing with patients and information is getting less, it is becoming humanly impossible to keep up with that. If I could devote the time it takes now to deal with technology (inputting information, looking for papers, etc.) to patients, that would be a huge step towards becoming better.

Here are 10 things how AI could make me a better doctor and consequently live a better life.

1) Eradicate waiting time: Not only patients have to wait a lot for their doctors, but doctors lose a lot of time everyday waiting for something (a patient, a lab result, etc.). An AI system that makes my schedule as efficient as possible directing me to the next logical task would be a jackpot.

2) Prioritize my emails: I deal with about 200 e-mails every single day. I try to teach GMail how to mark an e-mail important or categorize them automatically into social media messages, newsletters and personal e-mails, it’s still a challenge. In Her, the AI system prioritized all the 3000 unread e-mails in a second. Imagine that!

HER

3) Find me the information I need: I think I have mastered the skill of searching for information online using dozens of Google search operators and different kinds of search engines for different tasks, but it still takes time. What if an AI OS could answer my questions immediately by looking up the answer online?

4) Keep me up-to-date: There are 23 million papers on Pubmed.com. If I could read 3-4 papers of my field of interest per week, I couldn’t finish in a lifetime and meanwhile millions of new studies would come out. I need an AI to show me what I should really read that day. Now my curated social media networks do this job, although I’m sure it would be much more accurate with AI.

5) Work when I don’t: I can fulfil my online tasks (e-mails, reading papers, searching for information) when I use my PC or laptop, and I can do most of these on my smartphone. When I don’t use any of these, I obviously cannot work. An AI system could work on these when I don’t have any device in hand.

bigstock-Medicine-Doctor-Working-With-M-43167979

6) Help me make hard decisions rational: A doctor must face a series of hard decisions every day. The best we can do is to make those decisions as informed as possible. Some of them are still hard to make. I can ask people of whom I value the opinions and that’s it. Imagine discussing these with an AI system that is even more rational than you are.

7) Help patients with urgent matters reach me: A doctor has a lot of calls, in-person questions, e-mails and even messages from social media channels on a daily basis. In this noise of information, not every urgent matter can reach you. What if an AI OS could select the crucial ones out of the mess and direct your attention to it when it’s actually needed.

8) Help me improve over time: People, even those who work on becoming better at their job, make the same mistakes again and again. By discussing every challenging task or decision with an AI, I could improve my overall well-being and the quality of my job. We could do that with people as well, but let’s be honest, it’s practically impossible.

bigstock-Iq-Intelligence-Quotient-Test-44699155

9) Help me collaborate more: In Her, the AI collected the letters the main character wrote and compiled them into one manuscript which she sent to a publisher that she thought would be willing to publish it. Similarly an AI could find the most potential collaborators and invite them to work on a paper or study I otherwise work on. This way, opening up my networks even more.

10) Do administrative work: Quite an essential percentage of an average day of a doctor is spent with administrative stuff. An AI could learn how to do it properly and do it better than me by time. It could write down my thoughts and compile them anytime just as if I decided to sit down and write them down saving me an enormous amount of time.

Read more about the use of AI in medicine in The Guide to the Future of Medicine!

The Guide to the Future of Medicine ebook cover

Would you use AI in your work? Please do share! Until then, here is how supercomputers make physicians better:

18 Influencers Shaping Digital Health In 2015

Bionicly came up with a list of influencers and thought leaders who, they think, will shape digital health in the year 2015. It’s a real honor to get into such a list with KevinMD.com, Susannah Fox or Eric Topol and others!

ScreenShot

Top Trends And Technologies Shaping Medicine in 2015!

It was an extraordinary year for technological improvements in medicine & healthcare. Wearable devices measuring our vital signs at home; the 3D printing revolution producing prosthetics and biomaterials; exoskeletons getting FDA approval; brain-to-brain interfaces; artificial intelligence becoming widely available and many more as described in my book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine.

There are a lot of reasons to look forward to the year 2015, therefore let’s see the top trends and technologies that will shape the year 2015 in medicine and healthcare!

Organ-on-a-chip technique that can mimic the physiology of human organs might be available in the year 2015 which mean that we might soon be able to create the first virtual model of the human body making it possible to run drug tests on billions of patient models in seconds with supercomputers. Keep an eye on: Wyss Institute of Harvard

15a

In the coming year, digital tattoos as thin as two micrometers might become available making it the ultimate sensor. So I don’t have to use all these gadgets around myself to measure my health data but with one very thin digital tattoo I could measure whatever I would like to measure. Keep an eye on: Takao Someya

15b

Well, while the year of 2014 was the year of the wearable health trackers, 2015 will be the year of smart clothes. T-shirts and trousers which will be able to measure our health parameters in the most convenient way. Keep an eye on: Hexoskin.

15c 2

The first medical tricorders will come to the market due to the Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize and Nokia Sensing XChallenges. These will produce little devices that by scanning the body would come up with a few simple diagnostic options or measure any kind of vital signs at once. Keep an eye on: DMI.

15d

IBM supercomputer named Watson as a cognitive computer will be used in more and more medical practices worldwide and more and more hospitals will buy that as an actual asset to the medical decision making process. Keep an eye on: IBM Watson.

15e
Blood tests will be revolutionized by making them available with just one droplet of blood at first Walmarts around the US. Keep an eye on: Theranos.

15f
Food scanning is coming at home and we will be able to finally know what ingredients our food contains by using spectroscopy. Keep an eye on: Tellspec.

15g
Augmented reality will move away from Google Glass more towards the first digital contact lenses that can measure blood glucose levels from tears as an added benefit. Keep an eye on: bionic contact lenses.

15h
The first 3D printed biomaterials will become mainstream as this year, the first liver tissues printed out in 3D will be used by pharmaceutical companies maybe making animal testing unnecessary. Keep an eye on: Organovo.

15i
Empowered patients will attend more and more conferences, they will speak at these conferences and more and more e-patients will be included in editorial boards of peer reviewed journals.

15j
Direct-to-consumer companies in genomics will deal with the challenges FDA will come up with and we will move towards very cheap whole genome sequencing. Although the cost will not be zero next year, but we will get closer to my prediction that the shipping cost of the sample will be higher than actually sequencing the genome. Keep an eye on: Gentle.

15k2
In areas with doctor shortages, telemedicine will be used at its best. Moreover, the first force-feedback gloves will come to the market making it possible to even feel the handshake form a distance, even from continents away while discussing medical issues through telemedical applications. Keep an eye on: InTouch Health.

Telemedicine Robots
Prosthetics will become more sophisticated and much much cheaper due to the 3D printing revolution. There will be people who will want to replace their healthy limbs for state-of-the-art prosthetic ones. Keep an eye on: Touch Bionics.

15m

And I think that the first brain-computer interfaces will be used in practice, plus we will more and more be able to measure our brain activities; and to learn how to be relaxed or how to be focused at home. Keep an eye on: Muse and PIP.

15n

Besides these, privacy and security issues will rule the year as well as an effort to get good mobile health applications and digital services reimbursed by insurers. We will see.

Here are some more lists.

2014’s Most Popular Medical Stories About The Future of Medicine

Here are the most important and interesting news and announcements about the future of healthcare & medicine in 2014 month by month. I hope you will enjoy looking back in time.

January

google-glass-surgeon-1-537x402

February

140219121205-medical-technology-robotic-hand-story-top

March

bigstock-closeup-if-a-stethoscope-on-a-27178670

April

screen-shot-2014-04-29-at-10-13-53-am1

May

suspended-animation

June

rockreportwearables4

July

handholding

August

Medical Doctor holding a world globe in her hands as medical network concept

September

Vector Progress Background / Product Choice or Version. eps 10

October

ibmwatson

November

bigstock-brain-lock-54266915

December

home-starterkit

Top 10 Science Fiction Movies About the Future of Medicine

As a science fiction movie geek, I collected those 10 movies that give a good picture about what we can expect to see in the next years in the future of medicine.

Please share your favorite ones and read more about such movies in “The Guide to the Future of Medicine“.

Here are the movies described in the video:

  1. The Fifth Element
  2. Gattaca
  3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  4. Inception
  5. Prometheus
  6. Robot & Frank
  7. Cloud Atlas
  8. Elysium
  9. The Zero Theorem
  10. Lucy
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