Health 2035: Medical AI, Precision Medicine, Printed Organs, Virtual Reality
The U.S. offers the best healthcare services in the world. Or does it? Can a patient in rural Iowa access the same level of care as someone in Boston? The recently expanded use of telemedicine helped reduce the regional gap in care, but more evolution is necessary. Our embrace of artificial intelligence and precision medicine is just beginning, and new information technology tools, such as virtual reality, are helping to bring it to the bedside. Replacement organs will first be harvested from animals, followed by their assembly, printed cell by cell.
Combination medications with dosing specific to the individual are digitally printed daily in the home. The patient experience will be seamless and comprehensive. The expansion of healthcare information technology will drive these trends and help us secure the best care for ourselves and family.
Medications Are a National Security Issue
While our cutting-edge healthcare system delivers miracle treatments that extend lives, we fail to maintain an adequate supply of effective, inexpensive medicines such as cancer drugs, antibiotics to prevent sepsis, and, most recently, pediatric analgesics. Worried parents with children suffering from RSV or the flu purchase $4 over-the-counter medicines for $30 and up online due to shortages. Cancer patients receive substandard treatment due to a shortage of the inexpensive drug methotrexate. And these problems are not due to supply chain issues created by the pandemic.
Shortages of critical medications go back more than a decade, with the FDA issuing an annual report on the subject since 2012. Currently, the FDA lists over 100 drugs as being in short supply.
With our healthcare bill surpassing $4 trillion, we have the resources to ensure our hospitals and pharmacies have an adequate supply of life-saving drugs. It is time for us to invest in raw material supply chains, manufacturing capacity, and stockpiling of medications to protect patients from unnecessary harm.
Cost or Quality: Why Our Thinking About Healthcare Spending is All Wrong
Health maintenance organizations, capitated plans, restricted networks, and accountable care organizations were all created to manage the cost of care. But is cost the right place to focus? These strategies did not control costs, as the U.S. surpassed $4 trillion in healthcare spending. Our focus should be on the same thing that all our other purchases are based on – value.
Aren’t we consuming healthcare services, which makes us consumers? Perhaps our patient experience should mimic our consumer experience, where care is patient/consumer-centered. And that includes how we interact with our providers, payers, and caregivers.
Artificial-intelligence-driven bots, efficient workflow, and analytics-influenced processes are some ways revolutionary information technology can bridge the value-cost gap. Rather than focus on what we spend on healthcare, we must aim to deliver value and decide how to invest our resources.
Dr. Chaiken tailors his keynotes to address the interests of each audience. He adjusts his presentation to accommodate the needs of both healthcare and non-healthcare attendees. Everyone buys and consumes healthcare, so it is in our interest to understand the trends in healthcare and learn how to navigate upcoming changes.