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The Future of Healthcare

Today’s healthcare industry landscape offers an especially unique opportunity for technologists, medical professionals, and innovators to collaborate and improve healthcare around the globe. With developments in A.I., technology, and personal data collection, the healthcare industry is wide open for breathtaking innovation and improvements that will help people feel better. At the 2017 Propelify Innovation Festival, Al Baker, Director of Corporate Innovation at the Hackensack University Medical Center, discussed three innovations he thinks will rock healthcare in the future.

Personalized Medicine

Precision medicine is an emerging approach to healthcare, where an individual’s genes, environment, and lifestyle all factor into decisions about treatment and preventative measures for a patient. Many experts, including Baker, believe precision medicine and personalization of healthcare is the wave of the future for the industry.

“Taking a course of care from a genetic point of a view and also from the lifestyle point of view and marrying the two.- that is the future of healthcare. It’s also going to be a way we’ll change the process of total care entirely,” Baker said.

Just as other areas of our lives continue to become more personalized, so to will our medicine and the preventive measures we take to protect our minds and bodies.

A.I. and Healthcare

There are several exciting possibilities for Artificial Intelligence to improve or expedite routines in the healthcare world. For example, on a smaller, more logistical level, A.I. could help create transferable, digital records containing a patient’s entire medical history. On a larger scale, A.I. could theoretically help humans diagnose and heal sick patients.  

A great example of this is the pilot program between IBM’s Watson and COTA at Hacksensack University Medical Center. Watson combs through the data of COTA’s medical database, which gives doctors increased insight into previous treatment for similar oncology patients.

With the ability of A.I. to sort and make sense of trillions of pieces of data like this, human medical professionals could have an easier and faster time helping paitients in the future.

Devices and Monitoring

Fitness and health monitoring devices are not only trending for consumers – doctors also think these devices will continue to innovate the healthcare industry. Monitoring devices, from Apple Watches to apps for diabetics to monitor their blood sugar, can provide a treasure trove of information for doctors to assess during patient visits. This data – and the data’s implications – can then pave the way for medical professionals to provide future preventative measures or prescribe a current course of treatment. 

Baker predicts trillion dollar possibilities for innovation in the medical monitoring device field and shared a few tips for developers thinking about getting into the field:

  1. Make the device frictionless – How can this be as easy as possible to use?
  2. Think about a wide range of ages – “My eighty year old father isn’t going to use an app to take care of a health issue,” Baker said. “But there is an opportunity for that to happen in the future.”
  3. Appeal to broad socioeconomic backgrounds –  How can new monitoring devices be affordable and accessible for everyone?

And, most importantly, at the end of the day, innovators in healthcare always need to remember that medicine about humans helping other humans.

Technology rarely the entire solution in healthcare,” Baker said. “Healthcare is human beings caring for one another and we can never forget that.”

Watch highlights from Al's talk at the 2017 Propelify Innovation Festival:

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