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Posts tagged ‘Medicine’

What Should Hospitals Look Like In The Future?

How do you start when the goal is to design the hospital of the future? When I was writing this chapter for my new book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, I contacted talented architects, as well as organizations such as NXT Health focusing on this sensitive topic and shared my own views as well.

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Here are a few things from the top of my mind as excerpts from the book:

  • No waiting time will harden the lives of patients as cognitive computers will organize all the details of the healthcare system. It will direct people when and where to go by analyzing their records, and automatically responding to doctors’ notes and prescriptions.
  • Extrapolating from today’s trends, it is clear sophisticaed surgical robots will rule the scenes of operating rooms (ORs), although not all ORs will include surgical robots as there will still be operations that could not be performed using only robots.
  • Devices and equipment of radiology, surgery and many other specialties from CT scans to endoscopic technologies will be so small they would all fit in the OR.
  • Cameras will record every movement in the OR as robots will be controlled from a different, sometimes distant locations. Examples are already available, e.g. in the Radboud Medical Centre.
  • Using radiology images such as CT or MRI scans ot patients, surgeons will be able to look into the body and even organs of patients before the operation for better surgical planning and during the operation for more precise movements. Augmented reality in action.
  • It will only include materials that cannot be infected; flexible touchscreens featuring important health data will be around the bed which will be controlled by the patient.
  • The walls might include virtual reality to make sure the patient feels literally at home by showing them images and pictures from their home which they can upload to the system while lying in a hospital bed.
  • Waiting rooms will feature charging sets for wearable devices where data could also be exported before the visit.

Here is how NXT Health thinks about the future of patient rooms:

A canopy above the bed houses electrical, technical, and gas components, even a noise–blocking system. A Halo light box can be programmed for mood and light therapy, and also serving as screen to display clouds or the sky. The head panel contains equipment that can measure almost any health parameter unobtrusively while continually logging results. The footwall features a screen for entertainment, video consultations, and accessing whatever information the patient needs. Floors are made of low–porosity rubber that does not need chemical sealers and does not trap bacteria and other substances. In case of a fall it reduces impact.

To reduce potential infections all surfaces are made of solid materials that are often used in kitchen countertops. A light at the entrance reminds staff to wash their hands before entering the room. Information and data can be added to patient records here as well as at a control panel.

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Although not all advantages will be the consequences of ever improving technologies but a different kind of training for the staff:

The Walnut Hill Medical Center in Dallas has been referred to as the Apple experience hospital due to its design and innovative nature. Potential employees must take a psychological exam, and the application process is exceptionally tough. Patient greeting begin in the parking lot with complementary valet service. Inside, the staff follows the Ritz Carlton “15–5” rule meaning that a hospital employee must smile at the patient from 15 feet and greet them with a warm hello at 5 feet. All employees are trained to communicate properly with patients and their families. Patient rooms feature large windows that provide natural light and pleasuring views.

Read more about the hospital of the future and what examplary hospitals operate today in The Guide to the Future of Medicine.

And as a bonus, here is how people in the 1950s saw the future of hospitals:

What Question Does Excite You the Most About the Future of Medicine?

I have amazing conversations on social media with people from around the world about where technology leads us in medicine and healthcare in the coming years. As I give around 90 talks per year, I also receive fantastic questions from the audience from time to time and I started listing these.

Now I would love to hear what question excites you the most about the future of medicine! Will we print organs or will robots replace doctors? Anything else? Please leave a comment here or submit your question on medicalfuturist.com.

The questions will be used anonymously for an upcoming and very exciting project which I will share more details about soon. Thank you!

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

Will Robots Replace Doctors?

It is quite obvious, based on my previous posts, that I think cognitive computing will play a major role in the future of diagnostics. See these examples:

Now MobileHealthGlobal.com asked me to share my views on this:

In fact, these machines, which are also called cognitive computers, have the advantage of allowing the doctor to focus all of his or her attention on the patient, instead of having to concentrate on finding information. Thus, to combine human and artificial intelligence is key. Meskó defends that “the best potential pair is a human with technology.”

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Iodine: Better information about medications

I met Thomas Goetz at Google years ago and he provided me with excellent advice about my future. Then I read his book, followed his path and was glad to see him as entrepreneur-in-residence at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Now he came up with Iodine, a site with huge potentials. A few things they offer:

  • Drug reviews
  • Side effect database
  • What to expect from a specific drug
  • Compare drugs to each other
  • Popular medications
  • Medical Translator extension for Chrome
  • How people feel about certain medications

Check it out!

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Social Media in Clinical Practice: The Handbook

Since Springer published my book, Social Media in Clinical Practice, I have received amazing feedback from e-patients and medical professionals worldwide who found my handbook to be very helpful in their professional and personal lives. Here are a few lines about the book:

The number of patients using social media and the number of applications and solutions used by medical professionals online have been sky-rocketing in the past few years, therefore the rational behind creating a well-designed, clear and tight handbook of practical examples and case studies with simple pieces of suggestions about different social media platforms is evident.

While the number of e-patients is rising, the number of web-savvy doctors who can meet the expectations of these new generations of patients is not, this huge gap can only be closed by providing medical professionals with easily implementable, useful and primarily practical pieces of advice and suggestions about how they should use these tools or at least what they should know about these, so then when an e-patient has an internet-related question, they will know how to respond properly.

As all medical professionals regardless of their medical specialties will meet e-patients, this issue with growing importance will affect every medical professionals which means there is a huge need for such a easily understandable handbook.​

Here you can check out the detailed descriptions of each chapter.

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Portable ‘Blood Test in a Box’ To Become Available in 2016

CNN has a great video report about an Irish company that plans to go against Theranos in the battle for the blood test market. They plan to develop a portable blood test in a box with which a lot of blood markers could be accessed right away at the doctor’s office. In The Guide to the Future of Medicine, I wrote about similar services including Labonfoil therefore there is a reason to believe that lab tests are about to dramatically change.

Excerpts from the CNN report:

One Irish company says it has developed the solution — a “clinic-in-a-box” that can test for a range of diseases or medical conditions in minutes, from just a single drop of blood.

“The physicians were crying out for a simple-to-use device,” Jerry O’Brien, a farmer’s son from Cork who broke with the family tradition to pursue a career in healthcare, told CNN.

“There was a huge unmet clinical need. It was very obvious from the start they wanted a simple device that would test for any condition off a finger-prick of blood within a matter of minutes.”

Watch the report here:

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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!

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