If ever something was about the here and now, it’s medicine. Whether it concerns ourselves or our loved ones, when something is wrong we want it dealt with immediately and expertly. This is the fundamental philosophy of (med)24 and why we have created a 24-hour, 365-day-per-year service. But while the delivery of healthcare should always be immediate, the planning needs to look way out to the horizon and beyond. At (med)24 we are always looking for the next thing in healthcare. What services can we offer our members to make life easier, better, more healthy for them? What do we need to be thinking about so our members don’t have to?
This is why we were delighted to see the series of reports produced by accountancy giant Deloitte over the last few weeks. The series ‘The future unmasked’ explores what healthcare could look like in five years’ time. From prevention to cure, public health to personal choices, we look at the main changes predicted by the report.
Continuous health monitoring - something that is already creeping into the sector, the expectation is that technological advances will provide real time monitoring of vital signs and other key indicators of people’s health. To some extent this will be possible for mental health too. It is expected that facial recognition technology, monitoring sleep and voice patterns as well as mood changes, could allow physicians to get real time insight into our mental wellbeing, and act early.
Personal responsibility - increasingly individuals will be given access and control over their own medical records. For members of (med)24 this won’t be something for the future. It is a policy we are looking to introduce right from the outset. They are your medical records after all, so you should have access to them.
Artificial Intelligence comes of age - clinicians will use ‘reliable AI techniques’ in areas such as radiology and pathology to help detect signs of disease at a molecular level.
Democratisation of healthcare provision - the boundaries between the roles of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others health providers will become less distinct. As the report states: “Task shifting and task reorganisation are commonplace, leading to a diverse, blended workforce that provides care where and when needed.”
Healthcare provision moves from the clinic to the home - increased use of technology allows more and more healthcare monitoring and provision to move out of clinics and into alternative areas such as the home or ‘one-stop shop community health hubs’.
Healthcare becomes personal - hyper-personal data helps to generate similarly personal therapies, be it through the creation of nano-particles, 3D bio-engineering of transplantable organs or gene editing.
Data that works - healthcare providers finally master the conundrums which have bedevilled so many IT schemes designed to knit together our medical records. Data about patient health and history is shared freely but securely across providers, leading to fewer mistakes and far better analysis of personal and societal problems.
As with any predictions about the future some of what the boffins at Deloitte are predicting will come true, other things may not. At (med)24 we are delighted to see that some of the trends highlighted in the report are already being implemented by us. Deloitte is only halfway through their series of 10 reports. We will bring an update on the remaining chapters when they are made available. For those who want to dive deeper you can find the report here.