healthcare-high-tech-future

Healthcare’s High-Tech Future

The first of a three-part series

  05/20/2016 |  Health Apps, Fitness/Nutrition Data

Part I

Until the 1940’s, doctors made house calls to patients, treating colds and flus, delivering babies, even performing surgeries. It was also a time when companies began offering health benefits in order to compete for workers. With the high cost of house calls and the benefits of treating multiple patients, doctors started seeing patients more and more in their offices and hospitals. The current model of healthcare was established and for the most part, was structured to fit within the confines of medical plans. That paradigm is making a huge shift with the advancement of many technologies, and in many ways, is becoming more personalized.

The advent of telemedicine is a house call–Star Trek style. You can visit a doctor once you download an app, and your medical issue could be resolved through a live-video chat/doctor visit. A video visit with a board-certified doctor is just a click away and you can be treated for a variety of common conditions like cold and flu, skin issues, sports injuries and eye issues. Emergent and chronic issues are better left to your in-person physician, though a mental health visit in the privacy of your own home to discuss stress, depression or anxiety could be just what you need. With a video doctor visit, just like an in-person visit, you can expect to receive an assessment, diagnosis and prescription (if needed.)

According to Michael Nova, MD, Chief Innovation Officer at Pathway Genomics, “A vast majority of patients report that they want to be able to communicate with their doctors through email, phone calls and video chats. On average, Americans spend 2.4 billion hours a year making doctors visits. Telemedicine saves time and has endless potential in making healthcare available to those in remote areas or to patients with limited resources.”

Michael-Nova_hexagon

The lack of access to quality healthcare is a huge problem, as well as the time it takes—two to three hours—to see a doctor. Mental health visits can often take weeks to schedule and nearly half of these patients go without treatment.

A vast majority of patients report that they want to be able to communicate with their doctors through email, phone calls and video chats. On average, Americans spend 2.4 billion hours a year making doctors visits. Telemedicine saves time and has endless potential in making healthcare available to those in remote areas or to patients with limited resources.

– Michael Nova, MD, Chief Innovation Officer at Pathway Genomics

Healthcare is complicated, political and ever-changing. The good news is that many technological advances in key areas are making a huge difference in the practice, delivery and intervention of medicine. We are poised for the current model of healthcare to make a drastic change, as we know it. The convergence of these technologies will make a difference:

Information and Data—The Digitization of Medicine

  • Big Data
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Imaging
  • Wearables
  • Wireless monitoring to ubiquitous (always monitoring and managing) apps

Personalized Medicine

  • Genomics
  • Environments
  • Lifestyle

Regenerative Medicine

  • Stem Cell
  • Cell regeneration

High-tech Interventions

  • Prosthetics
  • 3D printing
  • Smart pills
  • Gene therapy

The future of healthcare will realize a complete change in terrain. Where advanced medicine was previously available through specialists for a minority of patients, we’ll see a democratization of medicine—making it available to all; despite their economy, geography, ethnicity, age or state of health.

Next in this three-part series, health apps, smart phone access and other important aspects of the digitization of medicine will be reviewed. Whether you’re an Apple or Microsoft enthusiast, you’re probably already using some type of health tracker that’s collecting your personal data that you access through an app. Then, peering into the future, we’ll have a look at how your genetics and dynamic management of you data combined with artificial intelligence just might help you to reach your fullest physical potential!