What will future healthcare be like? With the UK population predicted to grow nearly 20% by 2050 (circa 77 million people) with over 65s making up around 25% of the population – healthcare will have more and more demands put on it. How will innovation and technological advancement help people live longer and happier lives?
From womb to tomb
Health scanning and data will become ever present in our lives – even from the very start of life. Before birth, scanning will take place in the womb which will create a basic profile of a person’s health and create treatment plans from the very start. Predisposition to certain diseases or disorders will be recognised, and a way to live a healthy life based around this will be created for people to follow throughout their day-to-day lives.
During everyday life, as they grow and age, people will be constantly monitored and have data fed back to update their health records – driven through innovation in wearable technology and the Internet of Things. This data will be used to create a base line set of data for when we are healthy, and then alert us should an illness or poor health be spotted due to a change in this information – allowing illness to be caught early; and perhaps even reminding us should we be living an unhealthy lifestyle.
But what will happen when we do eventually fall ill?
A trip to the doctors
Going to the doctors will be radically different. Medical scanning will be efficient and simple – with a full body scan akin to walking through an x-ray machine at the airport; or even a breath sample will be enough to detect illnesses. These advancements and automation will free up a doctor’s time to focus where it is needed most.
Using the data collected from the patient’s everyday life, and then comparing it to more in-depth scans from check-ups will allow much improved analysis and monitoring, and will be especially effective against chronic diseases like diabetes and tracking the progression of dementia.
If a health issue is spotted it is at this point a doctor could be alerted, or the patient could be prescribed a bespoke medicine based on their healthcare records and developed by AI, which is then 3D printed at the patient’s bedside as a single pill.
Even a trip to the hospital will be more automated. Robots will be used to carry out more physical tasks such as moving patients around or creating sterile environments, discreet wireless sensors will allow instant notifications of change, while algorithms and AI will be used to diagnose and treat patients.
These innovations will allow doctors and nurses to be freed up to do the more human parts of the work and spend more time with patients one-on-one.
Nano technology will speed up treatment and the healing time for wounds and other injuries. Sports injuries could be dealt with much quicker and this advancement could even go as far as allowing lost limbs to be regrown.
Gene editing will play a big part in dealing with diseases such as dementia and cancer. By allowing us to repair and edit DNA, we can use it to boost the body’s immune cells which can then directly attack things like cancerous cells. This will be a one time treatment that can cure a disease which would currently require months of treatment and further monitoring to manage symptoms.
These advancements in the way we are monitored, diagnosed and then treated will change the way our healthcare operates completely and allow health issues to be caught earlier and treated quicker. It will also free up doctors and nurses time to focus their skills where they are needed most which should allow us to live longer and be healthier.
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