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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!

Why And How Healthcare Institutions Should Prepare For IBM Watson

What even the most acclaimed professors know cannot match cognitive computers. As the amount of information they accumulate grows exponentially, the assistance of computing solutions in medical decisions is imminent. While a physician can keep a few dozen study results and papers in mind, IBM’s supercomputer named Watson can process million pages in seconds. This remarkable speed has led to trying Watson in oncology centers to see how helpful it is in making treatment decisions in cancer care.

Watson is based on deep Q&A technology and gives a set of possible answers as the most relevant and likely outcomes to medical questions. But physicians make the final call. I have to note here that Watson is not there to replace the physicians, but to support them when making decisions. It also interacts with physicians and can suggest which additional tests are needed to generate a higher degree of confidence.

IBMWatson

The MD Anderson Center’s Oncology Expert Advisor

It is built to aid physicians in making evidence-informed decisions based on up-to-date knowledge. The system was designed to have three main capabilities:

  • Dynamic patient summary: Interpret structured and unstructured clinical data to create dynamic patient case summaries.
  • Evidence-based treatment options: Make treatment and management suggestions based on the patient profile weighed against consensus guidelines, relevant literature, and MD Anderson expertise.
  • Care pathway advisory: Provide care pathway advice that supports management of patients by alerting clinicians of adverse events or suggesting proactive care support.

When testing the accuracy of the system to recommend standard of care treatment related to 200 leukemia cases, the system had a false-positive rate of 2.9% and a false-negative rate of 0.4%. The overall accuracy of the standard of care recommendations was 82.6%.

The Memorial Sloan Kettering Oncology Advisor

Memorial Sloan Kettering’s expertise and experience with thousands of patients are the basis for teaching Watson how to translate data into actionable clinical practice based on a patient’s unique cancer. While initially focused only on breast and lung cancers, the work has expanded to more than a dozen other common solid and blood cancers such as colon, prostate, bladder, ovarian, cervical, pancreas, kidney, liver, and uterine, as well as melanomas and lymphomas. Watson digested the guidelines about Lung and Breast Cancer issued by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (roughly 500,000 unique combinations of breast cancer patient attributes; and roughly 50,000 unique combinations of lung cancer patient attributes). Over 600,000 pieces of evidence were digested from 42 different publications/publishers.

How to prepare

There is no doubt it will have a bigger and bigger impact on how we practice medicine worldwide. But all stakeholders in the system must prepare for that:

  1. Medical professionals should acquire basic knowledge about how AI works in a medical setting in order to understand how such solutions might help them in their everyday job.
  2. Decision makers at healthcare institutions should do everything to be able to measure the success and the effectiveness of the system. This is the only way to assess the quality of AI’s help in medical decision making.
  3. Companies such as IBM should communicate even more towards the general public about the potential advantages and risks of using AI in medicine.
  4. Non-English speaking countries should invest in natural language processing (NLP). If the patient information is not in English, Watson needs to understand the content and context of the structured and unstructured information in that language. To do this, it uses the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) and a semantic type recognition. The Watson Content Analytics (WCA) tool that processes NLP and is based on Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA) is used for building annotations. WCA then uses a Medical Concept Extraction Tool and a Health Language Medical Terminology Management system that uses standard medical terminologies databases such as SNOMED, ICD-9, ICD-10, RxNorm, etc. And this is where most e.g. European countries miss the point. They don’t have all these systems in all the languages.

The other option is obviously to train physicians and nurses to document everything in English. But we can agree that this will never happen.

It is time to prepare in order to let technology help us do a better job in medicine.

This video provides a great summary about all these:

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.

Drukowanie

A few details about the lifestyle of the innovators.

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Books About The Future of Medicine

I started working on a list about books for those interested in the future of medicine. If anything is missing or you have another idea about what to include, please let me know.

med-books

Most Popular Medical Stories of 2013: Month by Month

Just like last year, I again collected the most important and interesting news about social media, medicine and the future of healthcare; therefore here are the most popular stories from 2013 month by month.

January

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February

An example of a sensual robot.

March

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April

 

May

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June

I had a chance to wear the Google Glass. It's great but you expect more based on the promotional videos.

July

 

August

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September

 

October

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November

Guide to the Future of Medicine Infographic

December

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Top 12 Movies About The Future Of Medicine

After I published my white paper, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, the feedback was amazing and I had several really interesting (sometimes mind-blowing) discussions. One of these resulted in the idea of collecting those movies that predict, picture and demonstrate the future of medicine. Feel free to add your choices! Enjoy!

1) Elysium (2013)

A futuristic world where there is no sickness mostly due to the multi-functional radiology machine you can see in the trailer as well. It checks your body in seconds, tells you what disease you have and cures you immediately.

 

2) Gattaca (1997)

This movie demonstrated the dark future of genomics with genomically “inferior” people and what happens if we do not prepare the society for the opportunities and challenges genomics will provide in the future.

Gattaca-Poster-gattaca-15743375-300-426

3) Blade Runner (1982)

This Ridley Scott masterpiece analyzes the relationship between people and their bioengineered replicants. How will we live together? Will there be a hierarchy between us? Will there be differences between us?

blade

4) Brazil (1985)

Terry Gilliam’s film demonstrated the potential side effects of being able to live far longer than before and how people can become addicted to rejuvenating plastic surgery.

BRAZIL-4

5) Cloud Atlas (2012)

This very unique film shows the use of a real medical tricorder in action. This small device can analyze, spot and detect diseases as well as, obviously, cure them right there. It also discusses the deep philosophical details of using robots and clones for everyday tasks and what our responsibility will be.

cloud-atlas

6) A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

This Steven Spielberg film described perfectly what it is going to be like living with robots that look and live just like people but use artificial intelligence. How they will live together with us?

 

7) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

What if we could erase parts from our memories? Or even add new memories? I’m pretty sure the makers of the film did not have optogenetics in mind back then, but now we are truly moving towards an era when these things become possible.

eternal-sunshine-of-the-spotless-mind-original

8) Forbidden Planet (1956)

Yes, this movie was released in 1956 but you should really watch it as it gives a thoughtful picture of the future (and partially today’s world). The key part of the film is that people become capable of augmenting their own intelligence and it leads to serious consequences.

 

9) Inception (2010)

Will we ever be able to upload or download data from our minds? The movie is about the implantation of another person’s idea into someone else’s subconscious. A mind-blowing film.

Inception-collapsing

10) Prometheus (2012)

With the advancements of robotic interventions in surgery, it is expected that we will be able to develop robots that can perform operations themselves without human supervision or intervention. It was perfectly demonstrated in this sci-fi. The video contains disturbing scenes.

 

11) Robot & Frank (2012)

In an aging society, it is going to be more and more important and challenging to take care of the elderly population. This movie focuses on a robot with artificial intelligence that can do this job in almost a human way.

frank-robot-and-frank-13724-1920x1200

12)  The Fifth Element (1997)

You think 3D printing is a trending topic these days? Now that researchers could print out biomaterials such as kidney or liver issue, we might soon print out organs or the whole human body based on the blueprint (DNA) as pictured by this Luc Besson movie.

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