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:
There are too many interesting news and posts focusing on the potential benefits of Twitter in healthcare so I thought I would share these with you in a compilation.
The first live-tweeted surgery (Global Neighbourhoods): Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit performed the first live-tweeted surgery. Can you imagine how useful it can be in the future in medical education? (And the monitor on the image proves only Tweetdeck could make it possible.)
Photo courtesy of Henry Ford Health Services
- 140 Health Care Uses for Twitter (phil baumann online): Many ideas that can revolutionize healthcare.
- 100 Ways for Hospitals, Health Systems to Twitter (Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media)
- Melissa Rethlefsen and Colin Segovis covered my favourite subject in their article, Medicine in the Era of Web 2.0
Twitter users now carry on conversations (called “tweets”) with each other, share information learned at conferences and CME events, and query peers about professional concerns. Physician bloggers Ves Dimov, M.D., of Clinical Cases and Images (http://clinicalcases.blogspot.com/) and Kevin Pho, M.D., of Kevin, M.D. (www.kevinmd.com) use Twitter to communicate information rapidly without writing a traditional blog post. Others use Twitter to rapidly share information gathered at conferences that colleagues are unable to attend.
To sum it up, Twitter is extremely useful these days and it will be even more popular in the future. When we are talking about online reputation, we will not refer to blogs, but Twitter accounts. Join the discussions there.
- Healthcare Support Groups in the Virtual World of IMVU (john-norris.net): an incredibly detailed and interesting article.
Machinima of a Triage Exercise in Play2Train (Play2Train)
- A better system? Teaching healthcare virtually (Metaverse Health): An extended summary of health places in Second Life.
- Virtualis: Convention and learning center: You canorganize meetings and conferences easily.