This is part 2 of a 2-part series focusing on healthcare consumers, practitioners and researchers.
By Kurt Roemer, Chief Security Strategist at Citrix
Our lives are enhanced through the interaction of preventative wellness activities, therapies and the deeply personal health knowledge that the future of healthcare brings. The practice of medicine is rapidly evolving with new insights and technologies announced daily that instantly transform the healthcare landscape – and our quality of life.
If you're reading this as a medical professional, first of all: Thank you. As healthcare consumers, we are indebted to your dedication in improving health outcomes. Our primary goal is to give a futuristic glimpse into trends and technologies that can radically change the practice of medicine from the perspective of practitioners and researchers.
If you’re reading this as a consumer of healthcare, our secondary goal is to give insights into how caregivers, researchers and other medical professionals can streamline the efficiency of care and optimize our health situations. This document expands upon the concepts and predictions presented in The Future of Healthcare – A Consumer View.
There exist many areas in today’s healthcare experience that are suboptimal for the healthcare professional. Workflows that involve too much work, activities that take more time than they should, collaboration that requires constant intervention and, of course, the constant challenge of keeping pace with the ever-advancing practice of medicine.
As healthcare evolves towards personalized medicine, other top-of-mind issues include:
While incremental improvements are being made, what are some of the big disruptors that would greatly advance healthcare for the medical professional? And how can technology combine with personalized medicine to transform the practice of medicine?
The following three scenarios are intended to show how technologies could be applied in the future to solve otherwise untenable problems affecting health outcomes:
Future: Using a genomic identification patch the patient is matched against their emergency medical record while a multidisciplinary team of diagnostic robots collaboratively triage the patient using genomics, imaging, heuristics and chip-based instant lab analysis – quickly moving through possible differential diagnoses based on correlation of evidence. Replacement tissues for failed organs are printed using the patient's stem cells and inserted with supercharged immune cells targeted to combat the infection while robots balance body chemistry, monitor vitals and ensure treatment efficacy.
Future: Sensors capture primary and variant DNA from the virus, doing a live consultation with virologists at the CDC and WHO to authorize a specific new vaccine to be remotely assembled and mass-produced at a local secured facility. Affected patients are screened and then further diagnosed via telemedicine – given the rarity of the new virus, patients are scheduled for automated observation timed to the lifetime of the agent. Preventative measures and treatment instructions are streamed to all local media and personal devices, customized to language and just-in-time personal need for information. Emotional sensing dynamically modifies the message to ensure understanding, compliance and satisfaction of detail for both patients and caregivers. For general population treatment, a preventative vaccine is offered at schools and stores and those infected are instructed to go to specific clinics, or for hospital admission if personal complications are anticipated. Staff at clinics are dynamically balanced and pre-scheduled to meet the next week’s projected patient workload. Surrounding areas are notified of the details and provided a heat map showing “If you live here, here’s how many hours/days before anticipated infection.”
Future: Social media sites quickly locate hundreds of people ranging from the pre-disposed to the deeply afflicted. The information they’ve provided is anonymously combined with genetic profiles in a search for uniqueness. A medical researcher on the other side of the globe who has been focused on this malady for years finally has details that have been elusive and finds that affected patients have a combination of dietary insufficiency for a particular enzyme along with a local environment that oversupplies a trace nutrient. With slight dietary modifications - and oddly enough eating more avocados – the rare disease never materializes. Guacamole, anyone?
From an operational perspective, technology will further highlight issues such as:
Location and need-based resource management predicts the need for staff, information and resources based on social media dynamics, competition for cost and a deep knowledge of workflows. Even something as simple as knowing where the nearest wheelchair is can greatly expedite the patient discharge process, freeing up a room and resources for the next patient. Imagine how vital this is for crash carts and little used emergency tools.
Whether healthcare is being delivered and monitored at home, in a clinical setting or on the go, personalized healthcare is transforming our concept of wellness. And with the consumerization of healthcare, the practice of medicine is likewise being transformed.
While much of the future of healthcare seems to involve technology, robots and automation, people are needed to inspire and manage the workflows, privacy aspects and the dangers of an overreliance on technology. The future of healthcare, even with all the technologies involved, still centers on one key concept: Human experience.