10 New Jobs in the Future of Healthcare and Medicine – Part I.
Disruptive technologies will transform the healthcare job market. Although some tasks and positions will become obsolete, new medical professions will gain ground. Organ designers, robot companion technicians and telesurgeons in the first part of my article series.
Profession re-design: in progress
As in the era of the various Industrial Revolutions, many people are currently afraid that robots and artificial intelligence will take their jobs. It is without doubt that disruptive technologies are changing healthcare, medicine and pharma, as well as the way we gather medical information or how we interact with medical professionals and caregivers. It is true that robotics, AI, genomics and the wearable sensor industry will remove existing jobs. But I cannot stress enough that it will also add new ones – as it happened in previous historical eras with other professions!
Just as the automobile took over the place of the horse carriage in the early decades of the 20th century. The sons of horse carriage drivers, who saw the huge possibility in the appearance of cars and other motor-driven vehicles, decided not to go against technology and started to use cars to build up their business. If you are curious about how Hollywood documented the process in its own way, watch the cute 1928 silent movie, Speedy.
Potential new jobs in healthcare
As I am certain that the huge waves of technological change transform the medical professional palette, based on the current and prospective trends in digital health technologies I envisioned what potential new professions could appear in our lives.
If you have an idea about another new job of the future, please let me know and I will keep on improving the list.
1) What to do when your robot companion does not respond to your queries? Call a robot companion technician!
Somewhere in the 2030s: Lucy decided to buy a robot companion for his dad who lives alone in a big house in the suburbs of Nashville to help with the household, to make sure that he takes his medication or calls an ambulance whenever it is necessary or just to keep him company. The robot, Ted looks almost like a 60-year-old man with wrinkles on his face and grey hair. He was designed by a robot companion engineer, who contacted the family to let them describe what kind of robot they want and turned their wishes into reality. He could have shaped the robot as a dog or a cat as well.
When the robot arrived at their doorsteps, the family followed the instructions to put Ted in operation. Although the process took a while, it was not that difficult as assembling an IKEA furniture, still, something went wrong. So they called the company, who sent a robot companion technician specialized in this particular type of robot companion. The technician fixed a small electric failure, and told them to call him anytime they experience a problem. He reassured them that there are only a couple of robot companions assigned to him, which he knows thoroughly, and he will be available 24/7.
2) Want to teach algorithms? Become a deep learning expert!
Narrow AI is already reality: companies are already looking for highly skilled data scientists and deep learning experts in every field. AI-based algorithms will not only assist medical decisions, but also dominate how healthcare is organized and how health insurance is determined. We will need experts who can help algorithms learn about a certain topic by themselves making them smarter with every use.
How is it done? Deep learning algorithms are basically artificial neural network inspired by the human understanding of how our brain works. With gazillion of different interconnections between the neurons. But, these artificial neural networks have discrete layers, connections, and directions of data propagation. When it has to come up with a decision, – e.g. about whether an MRI image shows a tumor, data runs through various layers of neurons. Before it could get things right, these artificial neural networks need lots of training. It needs to see hundreds of thousands, even millions of images so that experts can tune the weightings of the neuron inputs so precisely that it gets the answer right practically every time – no matter whether it is a human face on Facebook or a malignant tissue.
3) Want to shape the future of communication? AI chat bot designers will be in demand!
Somewhere in the 2020s: Christoph traveled to Munich by his driverless car to a business meeting, when a huge migraine started to ruin his day. He turned his medical AI assistant, JediMedi on, and after a couple of simple questions, he knew where to go for the right medicine and what is the most possible explanation for his symptoms.
But AI chat bots will prevail in every field, and so will professional chat bot designers. And the future is already here: A 19-year-old British programmer launched a bot last September which is successfully helping people to appeal their parking ticket. It is an “AI lawyer” who can sort out what to do with the received parking ticket based on a few questions. Up until June, the bot has successfully appealed between 160,000 of 250,000 parking tickets in both London and New York, giving it a 64% success rate.
4) Would you like to get advice on how to live a healthy life with data? Ask a lifestyle strategist!
Companies purchased around a hundred million wearable units to measure health parameters in 2015. It is predicted that 245 million wearable devices will be sold in 2019. And not only is the amount, but also the choice of wearables and health sensors growing. Not to mention digital tattoos! So how can we choose the right wearables for a lifestyle change? And how to create an actual strategy for living a more healthy life with the help of digital technology?
Soon there will be healthy lifestyle strategists, who will create personalized lifestyle plans for clients, advice on health insurance issues (also connected to health data) or how to choose the best wearables.
5) Are you studying medicine? Specialize in telesurgery!
Surgical robots have the potential to change how surgeons will operate in the future. The industry is about to boom: by 2020, surgical robotics sales are expected to almost double to $6.4 billion. The demand for specialists who are able to handle surgical robots will thrive. I believe that there will be soon medical institutes and universities launching courses on surgical robots or specializations in telesurgery. Moreover, some surgeons will soon find they operate more precisely through a surgical robot than manually.
6) Want to push for more robots in healthcare? Become a surgical robot lobbyist!
Somewhere in the 2030s: Carla had to have a knee operation after a very bad skiing accident in Southern France. Although she got into hospital in time and the operation seemed to go smooth, a complication occurred and her knee will never work the same. When her lawyers examined the case, they found that the operation would have went better with the use of a surgical robot. So Carla decided to sue the medical institution since they failed to provide the most appropriate care.
She asked for help from a surgical robot lobbyist, who has already worked on cases of malpractice and whose job is to actually persuade medical professionals and insurance companies about the use of robots, which are becoming more efficient and personalized. Do you have an appetite for robots? Are you a sharp debater and a good public speaker? Consider a career as a surgical robot lobbyist! People promoting the importance of using more automation during surgical procedures in order to reduce human error will be in demand!
7) Medical drone route designers, come forward!
Somewhere in the 2020s: the 5-year-old Marina was bitten by a snake in Santa Barbara, she urgently needed the anti-vaccine. The ambulance called the medical drone assistance team to prepare a package for saving the little girl’s life. Twenty minutes later, the drone was on the spot.
For creating the most appropriate routes for medical drones to deliver packages with medical equipment, blood or organs, experts in engineering and topology will be needed. So, if your favorite subjects were biology and geography in high school, you might make a wonderful career in medical drone route design in a few years.
8) How to turn your car into a clinic? Ask a driverless car mechanic!
Somewhere in the 2040s: After a long day in the office, Sheela sat into her car, fastened her seatbelt, took her book which she only read during driving and prepared for a comfortable drive home. However, as she touched the steering wheel, the otherwise pleasant voice told her that she is having a heart attack so it will notify an ambulance. Sheela got angry. It was already the second time during the week. There was obviously some failure of the sensor, and nothing wrong with her heart. So she called the car service and asked for the mechanic who dealt specifically with the in-built health sensors.
Driverless cars will serve as the point of care for passengers in the future. Mercedes-Benz salesman Rob Tinkham described how one of their cars can already tell if the driver has become too tired to drive. He added that the seat belt, the steering wheel or practically anything the driver might touch, can be used as a biometric sensor to gain information about the driver. It could help detect a drop in blood sugar or an imminent heart attack. In the future, mechanics specialising in building health sensors into driverless cars and maintaining them properly will become a profitable job.
9) Want to wake up healthy in the next century? Turn to a Cryopreservation specialist!
The dream about preserving the human body after death for it to be able to come back again is as old as mankind itself. Just look at the Egyptian mummies of the pharaohs. With the development of science, it became possible to cryogenically preserve human bodies after death. At first, it was a Michigan professor, Robert Ettinger, who proposed cryonics in a book called The Prospect of Immortality, which argued that death could, in fact, be a reversible process. Ettinger, who died in 2011, went on to found the Cryonics Institute in Michigan where he, his mother and his first and second wives all now reside in metal flasks kept at −196 °C.
However, cryonics might not only be used after death, but specialists in cryopreservation might treat gunshot victims or accident survivors with their methods in the future.
10) Do you need synthetic organs? Turn to an organ designer!
Somewhere in the 2040s: after Leslie suffered an almost lethal car accident, his doctors told him and the family that he urgently needed a new liver, and the hospital had to start the process of liver creation and implantation as soon as possible. Leslie agreed and the next day, his bone marrow stem cells were transferred to an organ designer, who was able to 3D bioprint the new organ within days.
Organovo announced successfully bioprinted liver tissues already in 2014 and they seemed to be 4-6 years away from printing liver parts for transplantation. There are so many patients waiting for organ transplantation that the demand for bioprinted organs, and thus for organ designers is already skyrocketing. Such a career path might be an unambiguous choice for people with background in molecular biology, 3D printing and medicine.
If you are curious about the future of the job market, keep on reading the second part of my article series as well. Among others, I will introduce you nanomedical engineers, healthcare navigators, cyborg therapists and end-of-life therapists. Did I blow your mind with my predictions? Are you skeptical about the current healthcare trends and where they are leading us? Don’t be. Rather prepare for the huge changes in medical health by subscribing to my newsletter and following the trends here.
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