Doctors Appointment of the Future?

I’ve stumbled across a number of articles and demonstrations this week that provide an interesting glimpse into the (near?) future of medicine. A lot of this is already possible today.

What will a Doctors Appointment in 2020 look like?

IBM Watson Demo: Oncology Diagnosis and Treatment

Motion and Color Amplification: Heart Rate from a Video

More than anything, these scenarios and new technologies depict what is possible with a high level of standardization in the healthcare environment, with universally available health records serving not only to benefit the patient, but also providing an extensive database for researchers and supercomputers to find trends and recommend evidence-based treatments.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Canada or the UK is able to implement something like this far before we do here in the U.S., at least outside of an academic setting.

It would also take a considerable up-front investment in infrastructural changes, as well as a re-balancing of the duties of primary care physicians vs specialists. In the scenario I linked, the PCP (with the aid of an expert system / “AI”) is also taking the role of radiologist and possibly cardiologist. However, this requires a much longer visit (a couple hours?) with the patient.

While I’m sure such an approach would ultimately be more efficient, the direction we seem to be heading is just the opposite, with PAs and NPs taking more of a role in primary care, and most complicated cases / procedures being referred to specialists.

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