Enormous technological changes in medicine and healthcare are heading our way. These trends have a variety of stakeholders: patients, medical professionals, researchers, medical students, and consumers. They are important because of the impact they will likely have on all of us at one time or another. To get an overview of the trends in healthcare technology, we turned to Dr. Bertalan Meskó, medical futurist and author of The Guide to the Future of Medicine: Technology and the Human Touch. In it, he identifies several areas that he believes will shape the future of medicine and healthcare for decades to come.
Meskó’s predictions easily fall into two categories. The first group of trends, descried below, involve concepts already underway today, or those that will likely have an impact on us in the near future. (Part 2 of this article discusses a second group of tech trends that are still several years away or in much earlier stages of development).
Gamifying health Games are ubiquitous on our computers and phones, and increasing numbers of them are designed to have a positive impact beyond simply killing time. Combining fun and games into healthcare apps can motivate the patient and collect data needed to make informed decisions on daily activities that contribute to one’s health. “An estimated 50% of patients with chronic diseases do not follow the prescribed treatment,” says Meskó. “Gamified health tracking creates an environment that keeps the patient from straying from the appropriate therapy path.”
Empowered patients Patients will become equal partners with their caregivers. Healthcare is moving beyond the hospital, and shifting towards patient self-knowledge and empowerment. The Internet has led to many people (for better or worse) researching their symptoms and diagnosing and treating themselves. While that extreme should be avoided whenever traditional healthcare providers are available, there’s no way to put the genie back in the bottle in terms of patients educating themselves. Rather, healthcare professionals should embrace the change and guide patients in participating in their own care. 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 their healthcare. As Meskó puts it, “Healthcare cannot really advance without physicians letting their patients help themselves.”
Telemedicine and remote care Home healthcare services and innovative technology will allow for doctor-patient connectivity where it had not been previously possible, saving both lives and money. Patient monitoring before, during, and after a procedure can now include autonomous robots, such as iRobot’s RP-VITA.
Re–thinking the medical curriculum Medical schools will prepare future physicians for a world full of e-patients and dazzling technology. It takes many years to go from studying to practicing medicine. During that time, what students are learning is constantly changing in the real world. The old-fashioned textbook is a static learning piece in a dynamic professional field with integrated, innovative technology. Digital classrooms will create new connections between students and healthcare professionals and allow for access to the most current information and resources.
Surgical and humanoid robots Robotic-assisted surgery enhances the skill of the surgeon and allows for less invasive procedures. Advanced robots will be able to perform an operation from continents away, with precision beyond what a surgeon’s hand can do. Robots may never fully take over a surgical room due to their weak versatility and adaptability compared to humans, but they will become much more integrated into surgical teams.
Genomics and truly personalized medicine DNA analysis will become a standard step when prescribing medicine or treatment, to ensure it is personalized and optimized for that particular patient’s metabolic background. This kind of specificity, according to Meskó, “will make it possible to define disease in terms similar to GPS coordinates.”
Body sensors Technology is allowing us to measure critical health parameters in convenient and inexpensive ways. Tiny, wearable, sensors collect data without inferring with our daily lives in order to make better, more informed quantifiable decisions. Electronic clothing paired with sensors is one outlet used to collect such data.
Medical tricorders and portable diagnostics The fictional medical tricorder from Star Trek is soon to be a reality. Diagnostic procedures are shifting towards devices that are portable and able to be performed from home. Medical mobile applications will be prescribed with patient customization. “The smartphone will be the hub of the future of medicine,” says Meskó, “serving as a health-medical dashboard.”
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) biotechnology Cheaper technology and a DIY spirit are generating a new generation of scientists and engineers who see no limitations in research. Community biology labs are popping up around the world, connecting inventors, amateurs, and anyone curious to experiment with equipment and education. The resulting innovation in biotech has the potential for disruptive solutions that will further change the way medicine is practiced.
The 3D printing revolution 3D printers can manufacture medical equipment, prostheses, or even drugs. They will also play a vital role in regenerative medicine, to create tissues with blood vessels, bone, heart valves, ear cartilage, synthetic skin, and even organs. With its increasing affordability and open source engineering, the applications for 3D printing are incredibly vast and beneficial.
Iron Man: powered exoskeletons and prosthetics Exoskeleton suits have enabled partially-paralyzed individuals to walk again. Increasing the precision of motor control and recreating natural sensation will eventually create real-time communication between the prosthetic and the brain. Until then, says Meskó, “The real challenge for companies is to design devices that can almost perfectly mimic the complex movements of hands and legs.”
Check out the video that was made. The narrator states:
I have a deadly disease and I am going to die in 6 weeks. Or at least that’s what I thought when I used Google to diagnose my twitching eyelid. I’m not the only one. Instead of consulting a doctor, 75% of the population uses Google to diagnose their systems, and on the internet, anyone can be a doctor. Most cures you’ll find online only makes things worse. The Flemish government commissioned us to prevent people from making this mistake.
The company, DDB Brussels conducted a Google Adwords campaign of the top 100 most searched symptoms, and when the person put the symptoms in, this would pop up:
The narrator continues:
The sponsored link leads you to a government website, where reliable and professional information can be found. On the page we included an awareness video showing what could possibly happen when you consult a Dr. Google.
Oh no, this can happen when you Google it.
And he ends with the advice: “So remember kids, don’t Google it!”
Susannah so thoughtfully posed the question:
This ad campaign was directed at Belgians, not Americans, but the issues raised are universal, which leads us to these three realities about Dr. Google:
1. Google is the first place doctors go to for medical information. Talk to any doctor you know, and who do they first consult? Google. Ok so doctors usually have some form of expertise for which they need no consult, but for any rarer cases of disease, lingering questions about symptoms, or medication doses, honestly Google is the easiest place to go. And don’t forget that article from the Atlantic, which revealed this ugly truth:“Wikipedia is the top source of health care information for both doctors and patients. Fifty percent of physicians use Wikipedia for information, especially for specific conditions.”
So let’s just be realistic, even if you decide to go to a doctor first, you are still consulting Dr. Google by default. I am not advocating that patients bypass the medical system altogether, but we have to recognize that all knowledge, even medical knowledge, is becoming more, networked, collective, and real-time. This article in the Atlantic describes it to a T:
We are in a new age of “networked knowledge,” meaning that knowledge — ideas, information, wisdom even — has broken out of its physical confines (the pages of a book or the mind of a person) and now exists in a hyperconnected online state.
The bottom line is that you often won’t find the answer in that dusty medical textbook published 4 years ago, and the network may actually protect us from the mistakes of any lone doctor.
2. The poor design of the health care system leads the sser to Google.
Drawing by @JessicaHagy based on a TRANSFORM keynote.
This drawing by @JessicaHagy, really captures it in a powerful and succint way. People need more in depth health information, and the 2 page black and white paper handouts we provide to meet meaningful use criteria aren’t sufficient.
3. Google is the gateway to communities of expert patients on social media sites. One-third of U.S. adults have ever gone online to try to figure out a medical condition they are dealing with – diagnosis, and 59 percent of U.S. adults say they went online in the past year to gather health information. And, they are finding that information on social media. (Gasp!) Yes, social media! That dirty word in the medical establishment. Health care professionals groan about the loads of “bad” medical information and wasted time in the clinical encounter with patients who have too many Internet questions.
But it’s the place where patients are making diagnoses, creating effective health education materials, and finding the peer support that is critical for their survival. Let’s be honest, who is more expert at a disease than the person who’s living with it? Have you heard about the Nightscout Project, a DIY open-source project? It’s the most disruptive and transformative technology to hit the diabetes community in the last decade, and it couldn’t have happened without social media.
Health care, wake up. It’s not the 1990s anymore.
Social media, Google, and the Internet are medical therapy.
Reproduire les dégâts subis par un personnage de jeu vidéo dans la réalité, c'est le pari de jeunes Canadiens qui ont lancé leur projet "Blood Sport" sur Kickstarter , le site de référence du financement participatif. L'idée est plutôt simple : dans la plupart des jeux de tirs, la manette du joueur vibre lorsque son personnage est touché par une balle. En reliant ce mécanisme à un syst&
Les wearables s'imposent petit à petit sur le marché des objets à destination des personnes handicapées. Après la chaussure connectée ou encore l'imprimante 3D qui « sculpte » les photos, voilà le bracelet qui permet aux aveugles de mieux appréhender leur environnement. L'Ustraap, imaginé par la start-up mexicaine éponyme, est capable de détecter les obstacles mais aussi de déterminer leur taille, leur nombre, leur densité et leur mobilité, pour offrir aux personnes aveugles ou mal-voyantes une expérience sensorielle à 360 degrés. Equipé de plusieurs capteurs, le bracelet « communique » avec son utilisateur à l'aide de vibrations.Passée par l'accélérateur de Boston MassChallenge, la jeune pousse a reçu le mois dernier 50 000 dollars de financement pour pouvoir commercialiser son bracelet. L'Ustraap est actuellement ouvert aux précommandes et devrait être disponible en avril prochain pour 349 dollars. Crédit Photo : Ustraap
Leonard Kish’s first eBook titled, “Patient Engagement is a Strategy, Not a Tool. How healthcare organizations can build true patient relationships that last a lifetime.”
This eBook explores the following patient engagement topics:
What Is Patient Engagement?The Quest for AttentionFrom Technology to MotivationThe Rise of Contextual MedicineAligning Goals with Effective MessagingAlignment Through Social StrategyEstablish a Patient Engagement Strategy
Leonard Kish is a long-time contributor to HL7Standards.com who writes about patient engagement topics as they relate to healthcare technology, the government’s Meaningful Use requirements, and how proven behavior economic models should be considered by healthcare organizations and companies focused on developing patient-facing technology
DirectHopital.com est le site dédié aux managers hospitaliers. Il traite d’actualités pratiques, de retour sur expérience et des nouvelles initiatives dans les domaines des RH, de la qualité / sécurité, des finances, des achats et de la logistique.
Doctolib.fr, qui propose une plate-forme Web de réservation de rendez-vous chez son médecin ou son dentiste, a levé 4 millions d’euros.Doctolib.fr, qui propose une plate-forme Web de réservation de rendez-vous chez son médecin ou son dentiste, a levé 4 millions d’euros.
Pour cette fin d’année, nous vous convions à une nouvelle Rencontre IRL (In Real Life) du Club Digital Santé où nous ferons un bilan de l’année en e-santé. Nous avons le plaisir de vous convier à une prochaine rencontre IRL du Club Digital Santé organisée en partenariat avec Interaction Healthcare qui nous recevra dans ses …
L’université du Texas s’est interrogée sur l’utilisation des procédés ludiques dans la prévention à destination des jeunes. Les chercheurs détaillent dans une étude l’ensemble des défis qu’ils ont dus affronter.
This year it has been really interesting to watch how the healthcare sector has been successfully embracing social media marketing.
Every week more companies start to use social media as part of their marketing strategy and realising how a great asset it is to reach and connect with their audiences.
And that’s no surprise since a report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics tells us that in the U.K., Facebook is the fourth most popular source of health information and that doctors spend twice as much time consulting online resources than traditional print sources.
Social media is such a common strategy nowadays for the healthcare sector that we start to see emerging trends around this field, especially these four:
1. Educating patients
Social media is a great source for patients trying to find information about healthcare related issues.
So this provides healthcare companies with an amazing opportunity to deliver content to their audiences that informs them about all they need to know about their products, services, procedures, etc.
Such valuable content might be all these companies need in order to reach and engage their audience and also to increase brand awareness and expert reputation.
People start to trust them and coming back for more valuable information which also can be really valuable in gaining new clients and keeping the existing ones.
2. Live tweet chats
Many healthcare companies are providing live tweet chats with doctors where their patients (or potential patients) can ask them all questions related to their field, such as products, services or procedures.
This is a great opportunity to provide a personal and human touch on social media and also to show who are the “people behind the scenes” in a particular healthcare company.
It creates relationships and trust and can engage existing clients as well as gaining new ones.
3. Create discussion groups
Social media empowers clients, that is a fact. So besides searching and engaging in conversations taking place in Facebook or Twitter, many healthcare companies are creating their own social media discussion forums.
Whilst still being anonymous, people use them to ask questions, share stories, discuss relevant healthcare related topics and connect with the company.
This is a fantastic opportunity to connect with their clients and potential clients, to listen to what they’re saying and to educate them in many healthcare related issues.
Healthcare providers are developing their own applications for their patients to use.
Being web or mobile apps, these are created with the goal of being useful and something that can help their patients on a daily basis.
Apps to track exercise and diet, symptoms triage, heart rate monitor, health tips, etc.
These apps are something their audience can use any time and will put the healthcare provider at top of their minds, making it a great way to connect with them.
LinkedIn has become a staple social media outlet for professionals across the board, and now more than ever, people are actively using this platform to share information. One and a half million LinkedIn members are sharing content and sixty-five percent of users have increased their consumption over the past year. This drastic increase is now being called “the content revolution,” and is a phenomenon that should not go unnoticed by healthcare professionals.
The healthcare industry can take advantage of what marketers have already been doing and utilize these social media sites for digital marketing. LinkedIn recently released their 2014 Professional Content Consumption Report which surveyed over 2,700 users about their interactions with the site. As ninety-one percent of those surveyed list LinkedIn as their number one choice for professional content and the average user spends eight hours a week on LinkedIn, connecting with these content revolutionaries is an excellent way for healthcare professionals to network and share valuable insights and information.
Present novel information, or information that will assist in decision making. Fifty-six percent of users feel it is the easiest way to find professionally relevant content. Posts that present new and helpful information will be viewed and shared at a higher rate. Use this platform to spark discussion. Fifty-one percent of users feel the main benefit of LinkedIn is the potential for sparking conversations. Content revolutionaries will share content that they feel evokes a response, and this content is more likely to be shared across other media platforms as well. Ensure that sharing this content would benefit a user’s professional network. Sixty-two percent of users use LinkedIn to build relationships with colleagues or clients. Network building is one of the main draws of this platform, and content revolutionaries are likely to share information that aids in building relationships.
Format the content so it can be easily consumed on a mobile device. Users often need information at their fingertips and forty three percent of members visit this site on their mobile device. Publish content that users want to share to enhance their professional brand. Some of the main benefits to using LinkedIn are that it increases member visibility, enhances a member’s professional brand reputation, and positions a member as an innovator. Content revolutionaries are most likely to share content that fulfills these needs.
For healthcare professionals to be most effective on LinkedIn, they must deliver information that content revolutionaries are seeking. In order to ensure that content revolutionaries share and consume healthcare professional’s content, it is important to present new, timely and discussion-worthy information.
Providing content beneficial to a professional’s network or brand, as well as providing small, easily “digestible” pieces of content will help increase the likelihood that the information is shared.
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Adrian Cunning’s startup, ThriveStreams, has released its first product, according to CNET.
The newly released app takes a gamified approach to mood tracking for those with conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder. Cunning was diagnosed as bipolar in 2002 and has said that his own battle with the disorder inspired him to serve others with mental health struggles.