Say goodbye to MDs, RNs, and NPs, as a new digitized approach to health unfolds. The realm of medicine is about to be revolutionized. By 2050, consumers will rarely see their doctors IRL. AI will diagnose and prescribe; bots will perform surgery. Consumers will be freed from the drudgery and confusion of trying to manage their health. They will be passive bystanders as tech will read what humans need and deliver it, without test results, without doctors, and without pharmacies. Possibly without prescription medications.
Welcome to seamless wellness. These amazing advances will enhance our health, but the seismic shifts will rock your brand or business - especially if you’re still late to digital delivery, cautious about cloud computing or deeply behind on data science.
Transformed by Tech
Health is about to be outsourced and optimized by AI. No longer will you wonder about what medical conditions could be brewing, what nutrients your body needs, or how to get the products you require. It'll all be delivered without the hassle of chasing healthcare professionals. Get ready: Big Brother may really be watching you, from the inside, and you’re going to feel better for it.
The Medicine of Prevention
To stem rising healthcare costs, the big trend in medicine is moving from cure to prevention. This is a mammoth shift: Are you ready? Consumers will be staying well in parallel with AI empowered digital health services. For example, biosensors — whether implanted internally or adhered externally — will track vital markers and monitor changes, suggesting tweaks in nutrition, meds and behavior, based on a patient’s own unique genomic profile. (Companies like Ubiome and Viome are already starting this process, analyzing a person’s gut microbiome and making lifestyle and nutrition recommendations based on what the sample reveals). A strange twist to this ultimate self-knowledge? You’ll see genomics-based decisions being woven into our culture. On dating sites, people will seek out truly bio-compatible partners for ultra-healthy offspring.
Soon, most clinical care will come via tech—from robot-assisted diagnosis, gene tinkering at conception, and in-vitro treatment. Much will be done remotely, via implanted chips and other devices within our bodies, but when one does need to go inside the hospital, experienced doctors will be present via sensory-enhanced telepresence avatars, silicon-based “surgeons.” Robot nurses and recovery “buddies” who keep us calm and engaged will be by our bedsides.
As we begin to live in environments wired to the Internet of Things, invisible trip-wires will monitor falls (a vital service for our increasingly elderly population), sending out alerts for help, and health sensors will check our blood bio-data constantly via MIT-developed tattoos.
You’re About To be Chipped
Internalized medical trackers and tools will surge in popularity and efficacy. A growing number of people are already walking around today with deep brain implants to manage epilepsy and aid in Alzheimer’s research. Next up? Swallowed implants to track the efficacy of personalized medications and getting a bit of mesh — called “neural lace” — embedded in our brain to connect us directly to the Internet. Even Elon Musk is working on interfaces to bond our gray matter to the digital world with his company Neuralink. We will become Next Gen humans: Cyborgs in all but name.
Businesses and Brands: Are You Ready?
Our team of futurists sees huge changes ahead. If you have customers in the wellness/medical space, you’re going to have to prep now. If not yesterday. Starting with the right leadership in place that recognizes the imperative of AI integration. Smart hospitals and healthcare providers are already hiring highly-trained doctors who are also experienced with business, technology and bioinformatics to be Chief Intelligence Officers. The goal is to prepare current enterprises for the future, as well as partnering with machine-learning companies.
Many traditional medical networks will collapse under the strain of upgrading systems and processes, but it’s essential to put all your data in repositories that are easily digested by machine intelligence -- or it won’t exist to AI data management systems.
There needs to also be a focus on bridging the gap between tech and humanity. For instance, if a patient’s implanted chip fails, who will one call? We foresee a need for IT MD’s who will bridge this gap between doctors and data scientists.
Who Will Be The Next Leaders?
Many new-Millennial-style newcomers have flooded the marketplace, promising telemedicine and peer-reviewed in-network professionals. But they’re relying on the same convoluted backend databases as most everyone else. When you peek behind the shiny front-end, asking for real time pricing on prescriptions, they often don't have it. When asking for pharmacy delivery to home, you get sent a PDF to complete (who owns a printer/scanner these days?).
Because the next big healthcare giants are already flexing their digital muscles and getting ready to disrupt deeply. Expect end-to-end providers like Amazon to emerge as clinical care stars; it is already partnering with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase to explore next steps. Amazon is already hooked into tracking consumer behavior and anticipating future needs; one can imagine this digital-first retailer using its drone delivery service to drop meds from the sky. And its acquisition of Whole Foods and partnership with Kohl’s will enable it to ascertain life-long health needs and predict purchases.