The pandemic has forced the world to innovate and work together like never before. Despite all of the ugliness, it’s shown that when the greatest minds in medicine, science, and technology work together, great things can happen.
As countries continue to roll out vaccines and the world hopes to finally be gaining the upper hand against COVID-19, many people are curious about what the future of medicine will look like.
So, where is the future of medicine going?
Keep reading to learn about what you can expect to see in the upcoming decades.
Drugs That Come From a 3D Printer
A few decades ago, people would have laughed if you told them that there would one day be an invention that can create chocolate, guns, and houses.
Today, that’s no longer science fiction, and the truth is that health experts expect 3D printers to do even more in the future.
Pharmaceutical companies have begun using 3D printers to manufacture drugs. For example, scientists have used them to make Spriatam, a drug that helps with epilepsy. 3D printers can produce the drug layer by layer, helping the body dissolve it faster.
A group of scientists in London is also looking at using 3D printers to manufacture drugs in different shapes. Imagine going to your local pharmacy to pick up a dinosaur-shaped pill for your kids!
Health Insurance Companies Using Tech to Offer Incentives
A few years ago, several insurance companies, like United Healthcare, explained that they would be partnering with Garmin and Samsung as part of a national wellness program.
People who sign up for these programs can earn monetary incentives if they complete a series of daily goals, such as walking a certain amount of steps. The goal is to encourage people to stay active and healthy.
Of course, these sorts of programs also raise a bunch of new questions. How much patient data will these companies have access to? What sort of things will they be able to do with it?
As climate change continues to become more severe, experts fear that it will affect the global food supply. Some scientists and medical professionals have begun to turn to lab-grown food as a potential solution.
For example, Cultured Meat removed cells from a cow, fed them, and ultimately created muscle tissue. Similar organizations hope that lab-grown food will become a viable alternative to traditional options in the next few years.
Aside from beef, other companies across the world have also created everything from artificial chorizo to foie gras.
Animal-Free Clinical Trials
One of the dark sides of drug and medicinal advancements is that the majority of pharmaceutical companies rely on animal testing. Rabbits, mice, and primates are some of the many types of animals forced to undergo horrific procedures and treatments.
Although inhumane, many people believe that it’s a means to an end. But what if it didn’t have to be like that?
Industry experts hope that in the upcoming years, companies can rely on in silico trials to test drug effectiveness. This means turning to computer simulations for drug testing, as opposed to animal or human testing.
Aside from saving countless animals, it would also be more cost-effective.
Robotic Surgical Assistants
The multi-billion-dollar surgical robot industry has grown exponentially in the past several years and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
So what makes robotic assistants so effective?
Think about all of the things that can go wrong during surgery. A doctor may have the best training in the world, but they may make a mistake. They might be tired and unable to focus or even sad and unmotivated to do their job.
Robots don’t have any of those problems, nor do they make mistakes (provided that they have the right programming).
Aside from seeing them in operation rooms, expect to find robots in other areas, like pharmacies and sanitation sites.
Machine Learning Advances
In traditional setups, humans need to program computers to behave and operate in a specific way. In contrast, machine learning gives computers the knowledge they need to learn and adapt on their own.
If that sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, it’s not. Machine learning is already present in many aspects of our life, from fraud detection software to Instagram.
With regards to healthcare and medicine, machine learning can use algorithms to make predictions. For example, organizations like the CDC can predict where the next measles outbreak will be, as well as its severity.
What if you never had to worry about taking medicine in the first place? What if your body was immune to common diseases and illnesses?
With genome editing techniques, that reality might not be too far off.
Cutting-edge technology allows scientists to modify genes and change the way organisms work. For example, scientists have been able to create mosquitoes that resist malaria-causing parasites.
Like many advancements in the science and medicine communities, gene-editing technology raises a host of ethical and moral concerns. It involves affecting the lives of future generations, which is why taking it seriously is so important.
Embrace the Future of Medicine and Healthcare
As science and technology grow, medicine grows along with them. Although no one can predict exactly what the future will look like, experts can make predictions based on current trends and advancements.
As this guide explains, the future of medicine looks to be one of innovation, accessibility, and promise.
Do you now have a better understanding of what the future of medicine technology looks like? If you do, make sure to check out some of our other articles for more science and technology posts.