Deep shift – 7 ways the world (and healthcare) is changing

Posted on 30/06/2016



In the current climate, it’s hard enough to know what will happen tomorrow, let alone in 10 years time. But by looking at clues – patterns, innovations, and turning points – can help us separate what’s probable from what’s possible.

This is exactly what the World Economic Forum has done with their “Deep shift. 21 ways software will transform global society” report. According to the WEC, 2025 will be the year:

  • The first machine joins a board of directors
  • The first robotic pharmacist goes live in the US
  • More than 50% of residential Internet traffic comes from appliances and devices

survey results-deep-shift-technology

Health doesn’t get its own discreet trend; it spans most of them. The way we understand it and manage will only continue to change is ways we may not have imagined. This is, after all, the age of the creative destruction of healthcare. Here are 7 ways the world (and healthcare) is changing:

1. Implantable technologies

Smart dust (micro computers that can organise themselves inside the body into as-needed networks to power a whole range of complex internal processes) and smart pills, such as Proteus’ biodegradable monitors, are being developed to both manage medical conditions and measure their impact on your body.

2. Vision as the new interface

Visual aids for healthcare consultations / surgery. Think Google glass, but with a medical degree.

3. Wearable Internet

Wearable health monitors are growing in popularity, driving an era of self-managed healthcare.

4. Ubiquitous computing / a supercomputer in your pocket

This macro trend supports wider access to healthcare information. And with it a (potentially) greater burden on patients. See “unpaid, stressed and confused: patients are the healthcare system’s free labour”.

5. Internet of and for things

Automated decision making and diagnosis. For example, insurance company Aetna is looking into carpet sensors to detect falls/strokes. There have also been studies into monitoring the health and behaviour of cattle. With the growth of wearables, how easy would it be to apply to humans…?

6. AI and white collar jobs

IBM’s Watson has demonstrated a better diagnosis rate lung cancers than humans (90% vs 50%). With access to 150 million patient records, Watson has near vast case histories to draw from and has assimilated 600,000 types of medical evidence. Human doctors can no longer keep up – to keep pace with all new medical data would take doctors 160 hours a week!

7. 3D printing and human health

3D organ printing might be at it’s peak in the Gartner hype cycle, but it’s definitely a reality. We can print blood vessels, smile prosthetics, synthetic skin, even organ cells for testing new pharmaceuticals!

Download the full Deep Shift report here.

Brace yourselves…