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Posts tagged ‘Medicine’

Five Expectations For Physicians About The Future of Medicine

The waves of technological changes coming towards us will generate new possibilities as well as serious threats to medicine and healthcare. Every stakeholder must prepare for these changes in order to reach a balance between using disruptive technologies in medicine and keeping the human touch.

I remain confident that it is still possible to establish that balance and there are reasons not only for patients but also for physicians to look forward to the next few years in medicine. Here are 5 of them.

1) Finally focus on patients

Technology is not against physicians and algorithms are not designed to replace them. Instead, by using efficient and simple technologies in the practice, physicians will finally have time and energy to focus on the patients.

Looking into their eyes while inputting data with augmented reality (Google Glass or digital contact lenses); listening to patients instead of trying to find the right information (as IBM Watson provides that already); and having access to all the devices that are needed to provide a good care (smartphones serving as biosensor packages). What is it if not a great prospect?

2) Avoid burning out

With supercomputers being used in medical decision making; physicians having skills related to digital literacy; using intuitive IT solutions that make it simple to input, export and move around data just like how children today use touchscreen devices; and getting access to the medical information they actually need, hours can be saved every week.

With less effort and time, they will be able to provide more care for their patients. This way, patient reward becomes an essential part again in the process of practicing medicine helping caregivers avoid burning out.

3) Use data that patients collect

The wearable revolution in health peaking this year gives patients the chance to take care of their own health, thus measure health parameters that have only been available and accessible in the ivory tower of medicine.

By bringing this data to the doctor visit, they can save time and effort, moreover, a true partnership between them can be established. As devices become better, cheaper and more efficient, physicians can soon start encouraging their patients to measure parameters relevant to their health and the results will be discussed and used during the next visit.

4) Crowdsource, crowdfund and crowdsolve

With the advances of social media and technologies that give access to these channels, no medical professional should feel alone when dealing with a complicated medical problem of challenge.

If information is needed, it can be crowdsourced; if funding is needed for a new project; it can be crowdfunded; and when a real medical solution is needed, they can find that through an inter-connected network of experts, resources and services.

5) Share responsibility with patients

Although it is now the responsibility of physicians to become the guides for their patients online (that requires new skills), by empowering them, actually responsibility can finally be shared. Medical professionals don’t have to make decisions alone, but in a close partnership with the patient.

But for this, every stakeholder must start preparing in time.

 

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.

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10 Things I Learnt While Writing The Guide to the Future of Medicine

I just wrote my first post on my Linkedin channel about an interesting experience I had while writing my book. I hope you will like it.

While writing my book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, I did 70 interviews with experts of different medical technologies; spent hundreds of hours researching current trends and identified the 22 technologies that will shape the future. Here are the 10 things I learnt during this exhausting, but exciting process.

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The Foreruners of Intel’s Wearable Technology Movement

Intel launched a global year-long initiative under the name Make It Wearable to support the evolution of wearable devices. Students, designers, engineers, and makers got involved in the VISIONARY track and the DEVELOPMENT track. Here are the finalists of the development track.

  • BABYBE is a bionic mattress that keeps mothers and their babies connected through the process of artificial incubation in a NICU.
  • The Wristify band provides natural refreshing cool or soothing warmth on demand.
  • Snowcookie is a wearable device which monitors user’s kinetics and physiology and augments it with crowdsourced ski data to enhance safety, improve technique and connect winter sports enthusiasts.
  • BabyGuard provides smart healthcare for babies before birth to 3 years of age.
  • ProGlove is a professional wearable production tool that enables the user to work faster and easier and opens up a new level in control and business intelligence for production management.
  • BLOCKS is a hardware and software platform for wearable technology.
  • This low-cost robotic prosthetic hand aims to replicate advanced functionality for under $1000.
  • vumbl is a beautiful and discrete sports and activity necklace that monitors information from the body through vibrations, and relays this information back to you using touch.
  • Nixie is the first wearable camera that can fly. First V1sion is a new broadcast system allowing the player’s point of view to be shown in sports, such as basketball, football, tennis, etc.

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Five Expectations For Patients About The Future of Medicine

The waves of technological changes coming towards us will generate new possibilities as well as serious threats to medicine and healthcare. Every stakeholder must prepare for these changes in order to reach a balance between using disruptive technologies in medicine and keeping the human touch. I remain confident that it is still possible to establish that balance and there are reasons for patients to look forward to the next few years in medicine. Here are 5 of them.

1) Health management: The vast majority of people only deal with their health when they get sick. It is due to the fact that it has been really difficult to obtain useful data about our health. Now, the wearable revolution produces a lot of devices that bring health data measurements to our homes. So far, only physicians and hospitals could measure parameters, but today anyone can. Whether it is ECG, blood pressure, pulse, oxygen saturation, EEG or sleep, devices which we can order online provide us with the chance of changing lifestyle based on informed decisions.

Such devices will eventually get smaller and cheaper, and we will hopefully only use them when it is of help.

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AliveCor measures ECG with a smartphone.

2) Partnership: Medicine is a paternalistic system with the doctor being on the top making decisions about the patients. The digital revolution has changed it dramatically as now information, devices and even studies became widely available to anyone with an internet connection. This newly formed partnership makes it possible to be equal with the caregiver and play an equal role in making decisions. This will create an ecosystem in which patients get more possibilities to take care of themselves, while physicians will get help from their own patients. Jackpot. Although, a very old system has to be deconstructed for this.

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3) Communities: Social media is not famous for connecting patients, but several stories proved its potential power in connecting patients with like-minded others. We have done discussed our health concerns with our neighbors before. Now we do the same online without limitations and physical boundaries. Blogs, community sites, forums, Youtube and Twitter channels focus on patients and let them have their voices heard. As Kerri Morrone Sparling said, her doctor is an expert but can only understand what she goes through every single day if he/she is diabetic, otherwise he/she can only guess.

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4) Access to data: The Blue Button movement and E-Patient Dave’s talks encourage people to understand how important it is to own your own health data. It is not only unbelievable but actually outrageous that many hospitals and practices cannot communicate online with each other. Moreover, in others, patients who want to get their own X-Ray image must provide an empty CD disk to get it in the era of digital revolution. As it is not rocket science, we can expect to see major steps forward in this area. Without proper health data, informed medical decisions cannot be made.

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5) Prediction and prevention: Never in the history of medicine patients have had that many opportunities to predict and actually prevent diseases. Anyone can order genetic tests that tell them what rare conditions and mutations they carry and what drugs they are genetically sensitive for. We are not far away from doing a blood test or sequencing genes at home. In this sea of opportunities, the activity and participation of patients are very much needed, In a few years’ time, we will have to deal with the problem of too many choices regarding wearable devices. What is required for making good decisions is knowledge about where we are heading; and skills to make our own assumptions.

If changes happen as expected, patients will benefit the most of a newly constructed and entirely better healthcare system.

My new book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, includes more details and an actual guide about how to prepare properly for the technological changes.

The Guide to the Future of Medicine: Technology AND The Human Touch

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 think we are still in time and it is still possible if an easily digestible and practical guide becomes available.

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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 will shape the future including Augmented Reality, Surgical and Humanoid Robots, Genomics, Body Sensors, The Medical Tricorder, 3D Printing, Exoskeletons, Artificial Intelligence, Nanorobots, Virtual–Digital Brains, The Rise of Recreational Cyborgs or Cryonics and Longevity.

 

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The book made it to the Amazon Top 100 as well!

As described by the foreword from Lucien Engelen, new technologies will finally help medical professionals focus more on the patient as a human being instead of spending time hunting down pertinent information. They will be able to do what they do best: provide care with expertise. In turn, patients will get the chance to be equal partners in this process taking matters into their own hands. But only if we are prepared.

Paperback | Colored paperback | Kindle version

Excerpts from reader reviews:

“This excellent book should be read not only by health care professionals, but also by policy makers, researchers and even patients.”

 

“It is an amazing piece of work! A must read for all interested in what the future -and the present – of medicine has to offer.”

 

“The book is so well executed that I couldn’t put it down. This book provides us with an easy writing style, a simple clear lay-out, and well-chosen photos.”

Please use the #medicalfuture hashtag to discuss the topics depicted by the book.

 

The Future Doctor Will Be A Moderator, Not A Sage: Change Is On The Way

There is a great article in The Irish Times about what the roles of future doctors should be. They quoted Dr. Eric Topol, Dr. Bryan Vartabedian and me based on my new book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine. I’ve been saying for long years that this patriarchal system of medicine with the physician on the top having access to all the medical information and the patient being a minor element should be dramatically changed and restructured.

With the advances of the global e-patient movement, there have been good steps but we need to take this hierarchy down to create a true partnership in which the physician using their medical knowledge and the patient dealing with their health management together can make the best potential decisions.

An excerpt from the article:

Dr Bertalan Mesko, in his recently published book The Guide to the Future of Medicine, says that ever-improving technologies “threaten to obscure the human touch, the doctor-patient relationship and the very delivery of healthcare”.

The doctor and medical futurist warns that these enormous technological changes could “wash away” the medical system as we know it and leave in its place 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,” Mesko argues.

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