Guest Post from Innovate UK

As part of our predictions series, we take a look at how emerging technology will impact certain aspects of our lives. In this edition, we look at how technology will affect the future of healthcare. From before we’re born to helping us live longer, technology will reshape the sector in ways we never even though possible before. Here are some of our future predictions for healthcare:

Early Life
We already have foetal scanning and surgery and these are set to improve tenfold. This will lead to health concerns being spotted and rectified before birth.

As we grow to children, advancements like the Internet of Things and wearable technology will monitor our vital signs. These will alert us as soon as anything unusual is spotted. This will help to deal with illnesses long before they develop into symptoms.

A Visit to the Doctors
Visiting the doctors will be like taking a car in for a service. Full body scanners will be used to give us an MOT of our health. We’ll go in for one ailment and find out whether there are other issues that need resolving. This will be vital in understanding whether an illness is a symptom of something more serious. This technology is likely to be so advanced that we can even detect some illnesses from a person’s breath.

Information from any scan will be combined with the data gathered at home about your daily routine and diet. This will present a full report of your current state of health. This will be vitally important for chronic illnesses like diabetes.

So What If There’s An Issue?
If a problem is found, there are two potential resolutions. A doctor could be notified by the scanner and you’ll be booked in for a consultation. Alternatively, you could be given a personalised treatment by the machine. This will be a huge revolution in healthcare, allowing patients to be treated much quicker than ever before.

If a medicine is dispensed, it’s likely to be something developed by artificial intelligence. AI will allow us to develop new information from old data. Computers will sift through large amounts of chemical or medical data and use that to develop new drug molecules.

What About Hospitals?
Hospitals are likely to look very different in the future. Robots will be used for jobs like transporting patients around hospitals. You’re also likely to have a diagnosis given by way of algorithm. Intelligent algorithms will take patient data and offer a far more accurate level of diagnosis than a person possibly could.

An Impersonal Experience?
There’s a risk that all this automation could make a stay in hospital very impersonal and cold. We don’t necessarily think this will be the case. Instead of being an entirely automated experience, technology will free up time for doctors and nurses to offer a better quality of service. The boring and mundane aspects of treatment will be dealt with by technology while the consultations and advice will be delivered by people. This will allow qualified professionals to be much more efficient with their time, and automation will be able to take care of the rest.

The Effect on Cancer & Dementia
Gene editing offers a huge potential for neutralising illnesses like cancer and dementia. This allows us to insert, delete or repair DNA. In illnesses like cancer, we can use gene editing to empower the body’s own immune cells to recognise and kill off cancer cells.

The potential of this is huge. It offers a one-time cure for these types of treatments. Recovery time will be less and patients will be able return to their own homes and work far quicker than current alternatives.

The Place of Bluetooth in Future Healthcare
While Internet of Things tech is still developing and evolving, we’re likely to see various wireless connections wrestling for pole position. In regards to the healthcare market, we’re expecting to see Bluetooth become the prominent force. Low power consumption, low cost and widespread availability are all vital for successful integration of the Internet of Things into the healthcare market. We’re excited to see when and how Bluetooth technology emerges as a key player in the development of IoT technology in healthcare.

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