History of health technologies and significant change in the era of health 4.0

Dr. Ali Tinazli is the CEO of lifespin.health and has over 15 years in business strategy and Fortune 100 entrepreneurship (SONY, HP).

Ancient Egyptian medicine is one of the oldest in history. Although rudimentary, it was already very personalized and with exclusive access. During the Renaissance, one of the most remarkable ages of mankind, medicine had a modern basis and moved into a scientific discipline.

However, it still needed quality standardization. In the 1960s, laboratories moved from doctor’s offices to centralized and increasingly automated infrastructures. The industrialization of the diagnostic element of medicine has been a critical step in the standardization of healthcare, leading to an increase in quality correlated with increasing complexity, specialization and cost.

We are now at a tipping point in the United States, where the inability to pay for health care overwhelms millions, with a financial burden of around 20% of GDP. At the same time, the number of physicians is decreasing, adding to accessibility and affordability issues.

Health 4.0 can end health inequalities

New paradigm shifts are needed to overcome the problem of health inequalities that plagues society today. Industry 4.0 has already invented industries with new technologies such as 3D printing and the Internet of Things (IoT). Industry 4.0 is the convergence of cyber-physical systems, promoting the interrelationship between the analog world and the digital world.

We now have the data, knowledge and tools to identify, treat and even prevent life-threatening diseases. The era of Health 4.0 is here, and the phenomenal gains we’ve seen in biosciences and medicine are just the beginning of what’s to come.

It took the scourge of Covid-19 for the health sector to accelerate the digital transformation of medicine. The convergence of biology, medical science and information technology brings hope and promise for improving global health outcomes.

Innovation will unravel the mystery of diseases

Technological advances and innovative techniques once considered too “out of the ordinary” for conventional medicine are now celebrated as transformative. For example, in my field of metabolomics, we can now scan human blood samples in minutes and mine quantitative cell metabolic data with advanced algorithms to access vital health data and insights.

Leading bioscience and medical researchers are working together to unravel the mystery behind diseases that baffled experts just a decade ago. Data integration, advanced analytics and visualization techniques enable fast and accurate assessments of the most challenging medical cases.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) will bring revolutionary changes to medicine. Time-saving, cost-effective portable devices, medical devices and robots will allow us to deliver care quickly and far beyond previous expectations.

These huge medical breakthroughs save time, money and hassle of finding personalized solutions for patients. And, while the digitalization of medicine prioritizes the use of cutting-edge technologies, it will not and should not replace the human connection doctors bring to patient care.

Addressing Physician Burnout and Technology Overwhelm

The United States faces a projected shortage of doctors between 37,800 and 124,000 within 12 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). We must use all available time-saving and cost-effective applications, algorithms and techniques.

By doing so, we can deliver care quickly and far beyond our previous expectations while reducing demands on an overburdened healthcare system. Innovative medicine saves valuable resources for healthcare providers and provides high quality medical services by integrating interdisciplinary resources.

The convergence of biomedicine and technology means faster and more accurate treatment plan decisions, alleviating physician overload and their tendency to burnout.

Precision Medicine and the IoMT Promise Healthcare for All

Technological breakthroughs in precision medicine have resulted in new algorithms capable of analyzing the entire genome in hours or capturing metabolic profiles to better understand biology.

Precision medicine means that we can now take into account the unique genetic and metabolic tendencies to disease in individual patients. For example, just because two patients suffer from the same autoimmune disease does not mean that they will respond in the same way to a given treatment.

Therefore, collective knowledge will provide insight into which medications or treatments will work best for each patient and enable dynamic treatment adjustments. Data from a blood sample or wearable smart devices can inform next steps and appropriate treatment options.

We can now connect IT and medical expertise to improve human health outcomes and achieve better outcomes for patients around the world through Wi-Fi enabled medical devices. Patients and their doctors can communicate without hospital or office visit by enabling the transfer of medical data over a secure network.

With the capabilities of the IoMT, machine-to-machine communication can bring higher quality, affordable and accessible life-saving consultations and diagnostics, and treatment to impoverished areas and remote villages.

Empowered patients are at the center of Health 4.0

I work with my company to transform conventional blood samples into digital samples using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Once digitized with all relevant metabolic data, the digital sample is addressable by advanced algorithms.

With this approach, the patient sample can be used for many health tests. These test events are based on data science and are purely in silico compared to conventional in vitro inheritance.

Since scaling this technology relies primarily on cloud capabilities, it will greatly improve the accessibility and affordability of new precision health tools. Therefore, the democratization of new effective precision medicine tools will improve the quality of life.

Health 4.0 will continue to promote patient-centric healthcare supported by AI and ML data science, which will lead to deeper insights and dramatically improved medical outcomes.

Empowered patients are no longer willing to sit idly by when it comes to healthcare decisions and treatment plans. As a result, the treatment paradigm is now forever changed. More informed than ever, proactive patients today seek personalized medicine for all the right reasons. This is Health 4.0: universal access to health information and democratization of health services made possible by consumer and digital technologies.

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