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What’s this about the future of healthcare?
After all, there’s many a person out there who likes to moan about the state of the world.
They think that the world is in bad shape, worse than it was in the past, and on a generally negative road.
This, however, is overly cynical, and mostly not true, though it depends on what metrics you value the goodness of the world by.
If we focus on healthcare particularly, you don’t have to look very far to see that us general citizens are blessed to be living in this era.
Great leaps have been made in recent decades, and it’s only getting better.
So what does the future of healthcare hold?
We take a look at some things we can expect to see in the near and distant future.
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We’ve had data forever, of course, but its always been a sporadic mess of papers and notes and individually held information.
While those notes provided some use, the full potential wasn’t being realized.
That’s slowly beginning to change, and it’s thanks, almost entirely, to the invention that changed everything – the Internet. Data is integral to the future of healthcare.
Now, a patient’s data can be stored, and also shared between medical departments, with ease.
With the rise of AI, there’ll come the point where a patient’s data is analysed and screened automatically for potential health problems.
If a person knows that they’re at high risk for, say, diabetes in the future, they’ll be able to change their diet and lifestyle to minimize the risk.
There are some terrifying suggestions out there that suggest robots could take up to 40% of the jobs that currently exist and in the not too distant future.
Whole industries could be automated!
This isn’t going to happen in healthcare, however, for the simple reason that the “human factor” is such an important element of the process.
That doesn’t mean that there won’t be robots in hospitals, however. It’s predicted that routine surgical procedures could be completed by robots soon.
This will free up surgeon’s time for more complicated cases, and also reduce (/eliminate) the likelihood of something going wrong due to error.
Mistakes can happen in complicated surgeries, which are always risky, but they shouldn’t happen in routine cases.
At the Core
Birth is a lottery. You never quite know what you’re going to get.
All going well, you’ll come out healthy, without any serious problems.
But if you’re less lucky, you could end up with genes that make you more predisposed to certain illnesses and conditions.
In the past, it was just a case of “well, too bad,” but perhaps that won’t be the case for long.
There have been great strides made in gene editing techniques, which can be used for permanent correction of genetic diseases.
In the future, the people who have been unlucky with their genes may just be given a second chance, and an opportunity to live without the chain of their genes hanging around them.
3D printing is going to be massive one day in all sectors, but especially healthcare.
There’ll be no need to have prosthetic arms or legs, when one can be printed in the lab.
It’s going to have a hugely beneficial impact on healthcare treatment, as will the rise of nanotechnology uses within the body.
Training with VR
The current system of training will one day look ridiculous, even though we consider it advanced.
With the rise of virtual reality, doctors in training will be able to learn the ins and outs of medical treatment as if they were actually administering it to a patient.
They currently learn in books, and by shadowing doctors, and by learning on the job.
With VR, they’ll be able to prepare for the real thing, by actually doing the real thing.
The future of healthcare, while generally positive, isn’t all a box of chocolates.
There are going to be problems that we have experienced before, new illnesses that crop up and which we don’t know how to handle.
And one of the most pressing issues actually comes from the current healthcare system, and its use of antibiotics.
This type of medication is used to fight bacterial infections, and they work, but there’s a great chance that we’re using them too much.
As such, we’re at risk of creating bacteria that have evolved to overcome the effects of antibiotics.
The way to combat this threat is to stop using antibiotics except for in instances where they’re essential to overcoming illness.
Alas, even that might not be good enough, unless more of us adopt a vegan diet – 80% of the antibiotics used in the United States are fed to farmed animals because it helps them to grow faster and the conditions in which they’re kept are so unsanitary.
The Eradication of Diseases
You might have heard of polio, but the chances are that you’ve never lived in fear of the disease.
That’s because scientists worked hard to eradicate it (though it is still present in certain countries).
Today, we live in fear of another condition – cancer.
If you could tell the world that cancer was a thing of the past, can you imagine the celebrations?
Well actually, these celebrations might not be too far off.
It’s estimated that around 2030, all cancers will be cured, along with many other traumatic healthcare conditions that plague the world.
Conclusion: The Future of Healthcare
There has been rapid development in the healthcare world, and it’s something that we should all celebrate from time to time.
If you were born one hundred years ago, a difficult birth or bad cold could be fateful; now, we can be reasonably confident that we’ll come through these problems unscathed.
And the above is only based on what researchers are working on now – who knows what breakthroughs will be made in the years to come.