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Healthcare services will go through a huge technological change over the next 10 years, with robots, artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) playing a key part, according to a report.
The report by Hewlett Packard Enterprise-owned Aruba, entitled Building the hospital of 2030, said the healthcare industry will need to transform patient care through the use of technologies.
It predicts that by 2030, healthcare providers and patients will see the use of technology as mainstream and part of standard care. This includes patients using apps and wearable tools to monitor their own health, but also do their own scans and self-diagnose conditions at home.
“Hospital check-in will feature imaging technology that can assess your heart rate, temperature and respiratory rate from the moment you walk in, followed by sensors that can perform a blood pressure and ECG test within 10 seconds, and lead to an automatic triage or even diagnosis right there and then,” the report said, adding that clinicians will also be able to scan and analyse patient records with a mobile device.
“Devices will automatically integrate with your digital patient records, automatically updating on your condition and treatment, giving caregivers a richer, real-time, readily accessible data to make more better decisions,” it said.
In 2017, Computer Weekly reported that AI has the potential to ease pressures on the NHS and transform the way it delivers care, but experts have warned that the system isn’t ready as it’s still largely paper-based. NHS England’s drive for a paperless NHS by 2020 is aiming to change that, but according to US digital health expert Robert Wachter, the goal is unrealistic.
The Aruba report, however, is optimistic that in 10 years’ time, AI will play an “increasing role in diagnosis and treatments”.
“Public support will grow to the extent that you will be willing to be diagnosed by machine – provided that services are designed and implemented around patients, the benefits are explained, and permission is sought,” the report said.
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Hugh Montgomery, a professor in intensive care medicine at University College London, who contributed to the report, said the reality in 10 years will contrast “starkly with today’s system”.
“I certainly think you’re going to see the doctor using their smartphone in 10 years in a way that they just aren’t now,” he said, adding that in 10 years things such as automatic diagnoses based on a blood test could be the norm.
“From a drop of blood, within a few minutes you might be able to essay around 50,000 different proteins. That’s radical and in no way happens at the moment. I might get 30 variables, I certainly wouldn’t get 50,000. And that would require machine learning to be able to interrogate them. But it could potentially mean your diagnosis could be made more quickly,” he said.