After fulfilling my childhood dream of becoming a doctor and a geneticist, I decided to make a brave change in my academic career and started discovering the steps needed to become a medical futurist. There is no clear path or course for that, therefore I try to reveal more and more pieces of information about this exciting journey in this series of blog entries.
In the journey so far, I’ve described what it means to become a medical futurist, I’ve been sharing reports about the key trends of technological advances determining the future of medicine and healthcare (part one and two); Stanford Medical School asked me to talk about the future of mobile health in a short film (below), moreover I’m working on a white paper about the future which should be published early September.
Recently, I’ve had a chance to talk and share views with Joe Flower, healthcare futurist of over 30 years of experience; and Ian Pearson, futurologist and author of You Tomorrow. What I wanted to discuss with them is the thin line between collecting trends and aspects about the future and working as a futurist; and they shared very important pieces of advice with me.
In a nutshell, the key is responsibility. Providing predictions about the future and assuming that such technologies will be used by people is relatively easy, compilation of trends is even easier, but coming up with concepts and trend waves which determine the real practical future of medicine taking economics and demographics into consideration, well that is the real job of a medical futurist.
Let me give you an example. In 1950, the hospital of the future was described in this short video featuring baby drawers and lamps in the OR. It underscores the notion that predicting the future of medicine is extremely hard. Some special developments might get finalized in months, while other obvious ones might need decades.
Nowadays, we have to deal with issues such as cyborg overlords, simulating brain activity with computers, bionic eye implants, the ethical dimensions of radical life extension, self-guided intubation robots, or smartwatches.
It means making accountable predictions requires advanced systems thinking, therefore I’m starting this open course now.
I want to be a medical futurist who not just collects the current trends and compiles them, but comes up with reasoning that lets all stakeholders of medicine prepare better for the future.
In order to strengthen this position, I will launch a daily newsletter about the future of healthcare soon.
The 7th step will be about the methods used by futuristic studies.
Steps taken so far: