Healthcare is developing with each passing year. New innovations and technologies are being introduced within the industry, creating excitement and hope among medical practitioners, researchers, and patients alike for the future. This makes a lot of people wonder: what will healthcare look like in 2050?
Many opportunities and discoveries lie ahead, and it is only the beginning phase of another era where most health conditions we currently consider as incurable will become curable.
More sophisticated means of healthcare delivery will be available. For now, the application of robots, nanotechnology, stem cell therapy and predictive medicine in healthcare all sound like parts of a sci-fi movie to lots of people. However, these technologies could become mainstream easily within the next 30 years if research and developments carry on at the exponential rate that they have been.
Robots are already used in the military and other industries where pin-point precision is needed, so it isn’t a stretch to think they could be coming to healthcare sooner than we think.
Stem cells will be used to create replacement beta cells that produce insulin, thereby allowing people battling with diabetes to eat and drink like those who are not.
Nanotechnology will help in the production of nano-medicines, which will be more effective than today’s drugs.
Predictive medicine methodologies such as cytomics, genomics and proteomics will help in predicting the probability of a disease outbreak, which will help medical experts and scientists in coming up with preventive measures in order to either prevent the disease altogether or reduce the impact on human life.
Consider the following scenario:
A microscopic robot is implanted inside your child at birth. Whenever your child falls ill, even before they feel a symptom, it sends alerts to you and their doctor. Immediately the doctor prescribes a medication based on the genetic makeup of the child and sends the medication to you by drone.
Your vitals are also monitored by sensory equipment and the data will be transmitted to specialists who are thousands of miles away from you. Before you can feel a cancer symptom or travel to a distant hospital for a CT scan or MRI, nanobots will collect your tissue samples, replace damaged cells with healthy cells and absorb any toxins in your blood. Even those struggling with severe conditions like Parkinson’s disease will no longer visit a hospital for treatment; internal nanobots will be able to discharge dopamine in a specific location in their brain and effect treatment.
Allianz Care, a key player in the healthcare industry, predicts the following developments by 2050:
- Health information obtained from physical check-ups and tests previously only available in a surgery or laboratory will be replaced by data from sensors on/around our “smart” bodies (skin and blood). This will be immediately accessible to us, in real-time.
- A new field of “predictive medical data mining” will provide early warnings, even before people develop any symptoms. Medical practitioners will have real-time reports of their patients’ wellbeing and will be alerted to any change in patients’ data that requires urgent attention.
- Stem-cell medicine will be a powerful tool in mainstream medicine and will help in organ transplants and diabetes treatment.
- Nanomedicine may help in the treatment of severe conditions like cancer, HIV-related Kaposi’s sarcoma.
In 2050, terms like “telehealth”, “telemedicine” and “virtual care” would be obsolete. They will simply be known as “health”, “medicine” and “care” respectively. This is because the lines between remote treatment and an in-person hospital visit will become so blurred that any distinction will become insignificant.
The idea of taking time off work to drive down to a medical center; the stress of booking appointments with a doctor; waiting for several hours in a hospital before consulting with a doctor or needing close to a year to develop a pandemic vaccine may soon seem primitive.
By 2050, surgeons will be able to use remote robots to operate on patients on different continents; babies will have their DNA sequenced before birth, and patients will be able to generate new blood inside their own bodies without the need for a blood donor.
Although some of these predictions are quite mind-boggling, it is quite exciting to look forward to a future when healthtech will be mainstream.
Now, more than ever, is the time for the development of and investment in healthcare innovations. As the leading telemedicine service provider in Nigeria, HealthConnect 24×7 foresees a future when quality, round-the-clock healthcare will be accessible to all Nigerians, regardless of social class, gender, or ethnicity. For this reason, HealthConnect 24×7 has put all its resources together in developing proprietary technologies such as the On-site Virtual Clinic Booth, 24×7 Doctor Control Program, Hospital at Home® Program, and Integrated Mobile Application. These state-of-the-art technologies are available to individuals, employers of labour, HMOs, and governments.