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5 Ways Healthcare Will Be Awesome In The Next 10 Years

Written by S.O.

Posted on November 30, 2014 at 6:02 pm

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We here in DocChat are all about envisioning where the healthcare system could be, and doing our part in making it not only more accessible, but better for everybody.

Over the last ten years, healthcare has undergone some dramatic cultural and technological shifts which have led to a better quality of care, and faster turnaround times for patients.

For instance, did you know that only 15-20 years ago smoking in hospitals was overlooked? There were either separate rooms for smokers, or doctors would turn a blind eye for staff and patients smoking in their wards, under the pretense of dealing ‘with more serious issues?’

Certain diagnosises were withheld from patients because doctors thought they may be detrimental to one’s psychological and/or emotional health.

Discrimination was rampant through the early 20th century, resulting in biases and segregration based on gender, race and socioeconomic status. It’s fair to say those who belonged to higher status groups were treated a lot better, and fairer than those who were not.

Those are just some of the many issues the healthcare system faced in the past. And though, one could correctly argue that certain issues still remain, the outlook is trending only towards the positive. Here are 5 ways healthcare will be awesome in the next 10 years.

Centralization of Electronic Health Records

Let’s use the USA as an example here. Prior to the technological boom, health records were not centralized – medical clinics couldn’t automatically communicate with one another, pharmacies used separate systems to keep track of orders, and so forth.

Though, as a whole we have not yet adopted a 100% absolute solution to syncing one’s health records even interstate, with the coming of new cloud solutions which faciliate the sharing of information via licensed physicians (i.e practicefusion.com) – a future awaits of the ability to present your medicare card and for all your health information to automatically be synced to the cloud. Thereby, reducing the time needed to fill out forms, or reiterate your existing medical history to new practicioners, employers (require who it) or otherwise.

Wearable Technology

Watches. Bracelets. Shoes. What do all of these things have in common? Soon enough they will act as extensions to health tracking. Wearable technology is currently a booming market, with growth at approximately 16% per year.

These devices that effectively act as add ons to your day to day life, will go a step further and be able to provide you (and medical practictioners) data that could prove paramount in dealing with illnesses before they get worse. Perhaps, by checking the PH levels of your skin, to see if there is an infection, or monitoring your blood pressure and pulse to alert you if there is an anomaly. Not to mention, if god forbid you are found unconscious they will be able to automatically call the authorities and send over your vital information.

In fact, you won’t even have to wait ten years for wearable technology to become commercial. Companies like Jawbone at their ‘UP’ wristband, Nike’s Fuelband, and Fitbit Flex (amongst others) are already offering consumers ways to track their fitness, health and sleeping patterns directly from their smartphones.

Telemedicine

A bruise, a rash, maybe you have the cold? Gone are the days where one has to wait for what seems like an eternity and a medical clinic to see a doctor. Gone are the days where one has to juggle a full time job and two children suffering from the cold.

Telemedicine enables anyone to see a doctor in minutes via their smartphones, get diagnosed, and get medication prescribed in less time than it would take for you to do your laundry. At DocChat we ensure that as long as you have a smartphone which, by 2015, (2 billion people will do) then you have the option to communicate with a doctor via audio/video and text 24/7.

The benefits of telemedicine services such as DocChat are evident. “A study published in CHEST Journal shows patients in an intensive care unit equipped with telehealth services were discharged from the ICU 20 percent more quickly and saw a 26 percent lower mortality rate than patients in a regular ICU.” – Beckershospitalreview. Additionally cost to insurers goes down as costs associated with traditional office clinics are removed.

Better Trend Prediction

Google is sometimes viewed as an all knowing, omnipotent being which knows far too much about the individual. From location tracking, to search tracking to hyper-local advertising based on your passed searches and purchases.

I bring up this example not to paint Google out to the be bad guy, but instead to highlight a greater paradigm shift of trend prediction. According to the global search volume, Google can now predict the number of flu and dengue cases around the world, per time period.

Find out more here: http://www.google.org/flutrends/about/how.html

And watch the video:

This isn’t an isolated system. In fact, researchers from MIT and Microsoft have developed a system that can predict outbreaks of disease by analzying over 22 years of news and media from the New York Times, and many other crowdsourced websites. It is stated that the system is accurate on its predictions at a percentage of 70%-90%. It’s safe to say these figures will only continue to rise as more resources are dedicated to developing sophisticated prediction engines.

Drone Technology & Remote Healthcare Delivery

The technology is there. The legislation is not. However, it’s just a matter of time.

For those in remote regions of the world, be it impoverished or inaccessible, drone technology is a potential solution which could reduce disease and mortality by exponential rates.

What if all it took was a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) aka drone to drop off a large quantity of anti-malarial medication in parts of Africa, potentially preventing thousands of additional deaths every year?


Courtesy of Wired.co.uk

Of course, it’s not that easy as many groups need to get on board and dedicate the man power to ensure the sustainability of such a project. However, it is something to look forward to in the coming years.

Stay healthy,
Eric

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* Disclaimer: DocChat is intended as a complementary service to your primary care physician. It is intended for use by those seeking acute health care in non-emergency situations. DocChat does not prescribe DEA-controlled substances, narcotics, or drugs that may potentially be abused. DocChat is not a replacement for your primary care doctor and will only provide short-term prescriptions if medically necessary. If you have an emergency, call 911. If you have a chronic illness, please see your primary care physician. DocChat does not guarantee that our doctors will prescribe medication. DocChat reserves the right to refuse service to any patients it deems to be abusing the intended service or seeking prescriptions beyond a reasonable amount.