If you ever get down about the state of the world, and your mind gets to thinking that it was probably better in the past, then it’s worth remembering something: it wasn’t. Life has improved in virtually every sphere, and most notably in the quality of health care we receive. Take a read through some of the medical textbooks of yesteryear, and you’ll see what we mean: it was brutal back then! Yet while it’s pretty good now, it’s only going to get better in the future. Below, we take a look at some of the things we can expect to see in the world of healthcare over the coming decade.
Technology has infiltrated virtually all aspects of our lives, but if you thought it had gone as far as it can, then think again: it’s just getting going! Over the next decade, we’ll see technology play a more prominent role within the healthcare industry. Perhaps the biggest change we’ll see is in the use of robotics, who will take on minor surgical procedures. Yet whereas AI will take over other industries completely, within healthcare, it’ll play more of a supportive role. A big aspect of healthcare is the human factor, which robots don’t have, obviously.
The more data that there is, the better healthcare practitioners can serve their patients. Historically, this has been difficult – there’s been less data, more anecdotal descriptions from the patient. Any “data” is collected when they’re in the office. It’s much easier to recommend a course of treatment, however, if the doctor can get a much more comprehensive overview. This is where wearable tech will come in. They’ll record things like heart rate, steps taken, glucose monitoring, and so on. It’ll mean the patient can be treated for how their health generally is, not just how it is when they arrive at the hospital and speak to the doctor.
We’re beginning to understand that the “healthcare” aspect of a hospital and other medical clinics is but one of the roles these establishments provide. They also have a duty to provide comforting care and to make sure that the patient doesn’t feel nervous. If they do their job properly, they’ll also provide a framework that helps the patient to manage their own health, without visiting the hospital. All of these things go beyond simple diagnosis and treatment. It’s about improving the patient experience to make it less mystifying and intimidating. So in the future, we’ll likely see a greater emphasis on ensuring that the patient is satisfied with their experience, rather than merely treated.
The rise of AI will also help doctors to diagnose their patients faster, and with more accuracy. As we begin to teach robots to “think for themselves,” they’ll be able to hear a patient’s symptoms, background, other medical conditions, and suggest a diagnosis. This will lead to fewer clerical and human errors, and also enable doctors to spend their time figuring out the treatment aspect, rather than spending time figuring out what’s wrong. And because the AI will get smarter as time progresses, the time it’ll take to figure out the diagnosis will come sharply down, too.
Targeting The Cause
Some people are just born unlucky. Their condition is locked into the genes. But what if faulty genes was no longer an issue? In the not too distant future, this will be the case. Doctors will be able to “switch off” damaged genes before they’re able to take hold. There are already companies working on this treatment, but it’s going to become much more pronounced in the future. This isn’t the only giant leap forward we’ll see in the future, either. It’s predicted that come 2030, cancer, one of the biggest killers in the world, will be eradicated entirely. In a couple of decades, we’ll view it the same way as we know view smallpox.
It’s much easier to save the horse if you bolt the door before they run away. In the coming years, we’ll see a greater emphasis on preventative measures when it comes to a person’s health. There’ll be greater knowledge about the best way to prevent illnesses, as well as how to treat them at any home. Certain aspects of healthcare, such as the ‘information’ side, will be for the home.
We’ve made great leaps forward when it comes to health care in the past few decades, and it’s reasonable to expect that things will advance even more forward over the next few years!