The traditional medicine or medical science practice of a formal visit to the doctor for a diagnosis and treatment is giving way to greater use of technology for the same purpose.
Just a couple of years ago, terms such as artificial intelligence, stem cell technology, gene manipulation or the thought of an operating robot in healthcare belonged to science fiction. Today, these are a reality and bound to greatly impact healthcare in the days ahead. Interestingly, both practicing health professionals and the patient population alike are open to accepting and willing to adopt these transitions.
By 2030 India would be amongst the youngest nations in the world. The last two decades have seen a transformation in the medical and educational landscape of the country. The last two decades have seen a transformation in the medical and educational landscape of the country.
Most of the times, the decision to take up medicine is driven by a family member, the perceived glamour of the profession or just because ‘I am good in biology’. The true extent of what medicine is gets driven home only over the next five-and-a-half years of the course. Some love it, some do not.
It is expected that by 2030, one in every four graduates in the world, would be the product of an Indian higher education system. Not surprising, considering that India has always been regarded as a seat of learning. Historically, students from all over the world would converge on the universities of Nalanda and Taxila to study medicine.
Some trends that are likely to become part of daily healthcare practices in days ahead include:
Medical Artificial intelligence uses computers for clinical diagnoses, suggesting treatment and predicting results. It is expected to change the way medicine is practiced. Imagine a system which provides customized personal therapies, targeted treatments, and uniquely composed drugs-precision medicine.
Software platforms are set to revolutionise healthcare. The various health applications available are putting the health in the hands of the individual. The apps are helping one to track calorie intake, exercise done, calories burnt, medication compliance among others. Personal wearable devices like smart watches help in tracking and monitoring health parameters.
In medical science, 3D Bio-printing is expected to revolutionise medicine, with its possible potential to fabricate tissues and organs, create customised implants and prosthesis, and aid pharmaceutical research.
The field of Stem Cell Therapy is the result of the combined effort of geneticists, cell biologists, and clinicians; offering hope for treatment of both malignant and non-malignant medical conditions. Imagine being able to regenerate organs and human tissues like a tooth with help of one’s own cells.
Nutrigenomics combines genetics and nutrition science. Our genome can reveal valuable information about our needs. The data could be used to lead a long and healthy life. Imagine one has a health issue, the DNA is sequenced and then a smart app gives a personalised diet plan to say what foods should be eaten, and which avoided, for a healthy you.
Telehealth is essentially the use of electronic information and telecommunication technology to provide healthcare remotely. It includes the virtual chat or video conferencing that is done with the doctor, in lieu of a visit to the clinic. In fact, online scheduling of doctor appointments is a part of telehealth.
Medical facilitators help facilitate the movement of medical tourists for treatment not available in their country or help them find less expensive medical destinations for the treatment. They often act as a direct interface between the hospital/doctor and patient. They make all arrangements relating to stay, travel and treatment while remaining their single point of contact for any additional assistance that the patients may require.
Healthcare price transparency tools will help the consumer compare cost of diagnostics and treatment at different health facilities. Given that healthcare costs are a concern, the tools will help consumers make informed healthcare decisions.
Robotics in medicine is not a fantasy; it is a reality. From surgical robots guided by the surgeon with their greater flexibility, reach and precision allows for smaller incisions and is used from head and neck to urological surgery. The use of medical robots finds application as phlebotomists as assistants to caregivers, as exoskeletons to help rehabilitation of patients with spinal cord injury or stroke and even as a disinfectant robot to quickly and efficiently disinfect spaces in a healthcare facility.