There is no bigger question in today’s political climate in the United States than that of healthcare. On the one hand, you have the Democrats trying to preserve the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that was initiated by former-President Obama. On the other hand, you have the Republicans fighting over an alternative healthcare bill. And for now, the ACA has reached an all-time high in approval among Americans, whereas the Republicans’ bill has reached an all-time low. Though the question remains: are we doing enough to bring about healthcare of the 21st century?
For a lot of Americans, the answer is no. With universal health care popularity on the rise, Silicon Valley has an idea on how we could modernize healthcare using advanced technology – and it’s known as AIM! Using a combination of artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), and self-driving technology, the future healthcare system we never knew we wanted could just be around the corner.
Imagine a healthcare system that is deeply connected to the smart, interactive devices you keep at home. It is here that you’d conduct your own tests, self-reporting, and passive monitoring. Your smartphone (and other smart devices and clothing) would serve as a means of collecting this data and transmitting it to your doctor(s)-of-choice. Then there’d be self-driving vehicles that would operate as telemedicine consults, would provide needed pharmaceuticals, and emergency transport if needed. And if the latter is the case, then once you arrive at the hospital, you’ll be taken care of by a joint team of specialists (doctors and nurses) and AI (intelligent machines like IBM’s Watson).
Five to ten years from now, private tech. companies from Silicon Valley will have begun transforming the healthcare industry using a combination of technologies – from AI to automation. Telepresence medical consultations will have increased quite dramatically, providing a more direct (and inexpensive) method of keeping contact between patients and their doctors. Smartphones will also continue implementing medical-based applications, turning patients into self-reliant medicine practitioners.
“Healthcare today is structured to address all patient workflows in the exact same way despite the variability of care trajectories. Aim uses advances in artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles to deliver more precise assessments, and address specific healthcare needs as they come up.”
– Artefact Group
Thirty to fifty years from now, there will be a deeper and more meaningful relationship between humans and machines in terms of medical care. Most doctors and nurses will have been replaced by a combination of specialized AI and robotics. Transport between your homes and hospitals have been automated and fueled via solar energy, making the cost of transport next to nothing. And what occurs to your body will be monitored 24/7 using a combination of technologies, from nanobots to AI-assisted AR.
Diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc. will have either been cured or treatable to the point of ensuring no further damage can be done once caught. Healthcare will have transformed into self-care, moving beyond the rigid systems of either for-profit or single-payer.
Photo Credit: Artefact Group