Bertalan Mesko, PhD in medicine, specializes in future healthcare. He thinks that the following ten techniques will completely turn healthcare as we know it upside down.
1) Empowered patients who become equal partners with healthcare providers will in the future start hacking or even bypassing healthcare systems. These 'E-patients' are eager to participate in clinical trials and, the super-rich among them, will even buy up biotech companies to have their own trials done, like Calico by Google.
2) Gamification of health care will make it much easier to encourage people to live a healthy life. The ways that the pharmaceutical industry is now using to cultivate treatment fidelity (such as taking pills on time) are not working and are outdated.
3) Augmented reality and virtual reality with devices such as Microsoft Hololens or Oculus Rift give us a new view of the world through digital information. If medicine information is provided in virtual reality, the medical information becomes much more attractive and it also lingers better.
4) Tailor-made genomes and medicines will soon make it possible to put together a tailor-made therapy, especially suitable for you. Everyone will soon have their own file containing the genetic code of their DNA. We will soon be able to take these to our doctor, who will then compose a tailor-made medicine cocktail. And unfortunately for the pharmaceutical industry: blockbusters such as (the clinically barely health-improving, cholesterol-lowering statin) Lipitor will be a thing of the past. Instead, tailor-made medications come in small batches, perhaps even for one patient.
5) Body sensors, both internal and external, measure health parameters in a comfortable and inexpensive way. This makes crucial data available that can be used to measure the effectiveness of a treatment, or a clinical test. At the moment it is a big problem to collect reliable data. With the body sensors this is done automatically and very reliably.
6) Do it yourself biotechnology creates an entire generation of scientists who see no boundaries in scientific research. Today, the most important new drugs come from major pharmaceutical companies, but in the future, the cancer cure may well come from a group of biohackers. Jack Andraka, for example, developed a very disruptive (because very cheap) pancreatic cancer test. Pancreatic cancer is now fatal in 80% of cases, because doctors are so late.
7) And yes: the 3D printing revolution. Often in the news, also here on Visionair.nl, are printable limbs and prostheses. Also consider printable medical instruments. A Scottish group has succeeded in designing a printable pill: the printer prints the reaction chambers and the basic chemicals. This miniature pharmaceutical factory produces the pill. The result: a local pharmacy can print a custom pill for you.
8) The end of experiments on humans, and for that matter laboratory animals, through detailed simulations of human physiology. We now live in a barbaric age, where new drugs are being tested on living people and animals. In the near future, supercomputers will allow us to test thousands of drug targets in the human body in billions of simulations that model the physiology of the human body.
9) Artificial intelligence supports and makes medical decisions. IBM Watson, now loaded with millions of medical data instead of the Jeopardy database, is often used to analyze big data. Not only in genetic research, but also in the field of biotechnology. This, too, changes the way new drugs are discovered.
10) Nanorobots in our bloodstream, which can make early diagnoses by measuring blood levels of, for example, mRNA species that code for a viral or cancer protein. Nanorobots can also transport drugs to the target cells in nanocages, cage-shaped molecules. Obviously, the pharmaceutical industry must develop medicinal molecules that fit into these nanocages and are compatible with nanotechnology.
future of healthcare