The Future of Healthcare

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About the future of Healthcare

Technologies are an opportunity to find ways to create an inclusive future capable of positively impacting individuals. This is particularly true in the healthcare and medical industry. The "digitization" of healthcare has the potential to revolutionize diagnosis and treatment towards prevention and management around the patient.

The advances in this revolution are fascinating. On the one hand, they allow services through portals, remote consultations, electronic personal medical records, surgical robots and portable devices that administer on-demand and non-emergency medical treatments to patients. On the other, the seamless onboarding and coordination of digital applications and connected devices is already transforming the industry into a patient-centric, data-driven system. This will change the focus of traditional medicine and hold citizens accountable for managing their own health and well-being.

Not all emerging technologies will alter the social terrain, but some have real potential to alter the established order, change the way people live and work, and rearrange sets of values. In this report, Social Services for Digital Citizens, we identify emerging technologies and their implications in the way services are delivered.

Artificial intelligence

Its emergence in the health industry allows better diagnoses and treatments. In the doctor's office, artificial intelligence is already helping dermatologists distinguish between harmless spots and cancerous growths, diagnose rare genetic diseases through facial recognition algorithms, and read X-rays and other medical images. In no time, it will detect signs of diabetes-related eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy.

On the other hand, just as our mobile phones already tell us how to sleep better, how to eat healthier and how to exercise more, artificial intelligence can also interpret patterns in the way we speak and write messages to detect the first signs of depression and the risk of suicide. C hatbots friendly concepts trained in cognitive behavioral therapy are helping people who don't have time or resources for help professional. This approach is supported by the fact that people are more open to a machine than to other people because algorithms don't judge.

Blockchain

The blockchain brings many opportunities to the traditional health care system. For example, a string can contain the electronic medical record of the entire life cycle of a patient. It can also be used in the pharmaceutical manufacturing stage to ensure authenticity.

In addition, the blockchain can offer a secure and easy to authenticate platform for the integration of data from devices such as fitness trackers or that use mobile applications. Thus, a single patient can generate secure and authenticated data from multiple devices. Tracking and accessing daily health data enables the creation of health and exercise plans for patients, which in turn can be continuously adapted as the data is interpreted. The transparency and accountability inherent in the blockchain will ensure data security and reduce the associated risks.

Internet of things

The connectivity that the Internet of Things enables will open up new possibilities for the provision of efficient, good quality, transparent and low-cost health services, something very relevant in the context of Latin America and the Caribbean. Just as there are smart factories, we could have smart hospitals that could provide levels of care unthinkable until now and at lower costs, through permanent analysis of locations, vital signs or administered medications.

Digital innovation could also support the smooth referral of patients and their electronic medical records for future diagnosis and treatment purposes. Thanks to the constant reduction in sensor prices and the greater feasibility of technologies, medical devices capable of connecting to the internet of things will be an integral part of the daily lives of patients.

Digital health and human response

The speed of change and the unprecedented opportunities arising from technologies such as Blockchain and artificial intelligence are the hallmark of the healthcare industry today. But the future of healthcare will not only be defined by innovations, it will also be shaped by how we respond to and anticipate challenges, including data privacy, and the consequences of every major advance. To put it another way, the more we know, the more "unknown acquaintances" will be revealed to us. The limits of the areas still to be studied are constantly being expanded, while the possible applications of new technologies proliferate.

How do you think the future of health will be in your country? What advances do you know and what effect have they had? Think about the answers.

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