journal of biomedical informatics
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A New World for Better Health

Author(s): William Edward Hammond*

Issue: The healthcare industry is undergoing an exponential change. Our attempts to deal with these changes are inadequate, unimaginative, untimely, and too narrowly focused.

Goal: The goal of this paper is to increase the awareness of the technical community – particularly the standard developers and the implementers – about what is happening.

Methods: The paper identifies a number of changes that are occurring and discusses consequences that may result from these changes. Many of these potential changes are recognized through observations relating to new and developing technologies, through the new roles for the set of involved people, and for recognized problems with current systems. The major funded research initiatives were used to predict changes as were the directions a number of industry giants are moving, such as, Apple, Google, IBM, and a number of start-ups. Certainly the hype for Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, and Cognitive Computing is moving toward reality.

Conclusions: Pick your time frame – from 2020 to 2050 - these changes are very likely to occur. Healthcare, as we know it, will change. Computers and robots will replace humans for many of the tasks now done by humans. Population Health will engage all sectors of the world around us – individuals, families, neighborhoods, communities, regions, and countries. Schools, churches, and social groups will become important in health and well-being. Patients will play a major role in managing their own health and healthcare. Becoming over age 60 will not mean waiting to die. New types of data other than just clinical will be just as important as clinical data. Genetic data will be available about everyone and will be used to determine risks.