New arms race in medicine. It will change the world in 10 years
How digital medicine develops, if AI will replace a doctor and what we need to have as good medicine as in Israel
We can discuss medicine a lot and put different opinions as an example. The activity of our medical system in treating the population and fighting new threats can be evaluated and interpreted in different ways. It is important not to miss one of the key trends: medicine or, more precisely, digital medicine has already become one of the most rapidly developing technology markets. Anatoly Kiyashko, the founder of LISA Device project, an expert in digital medical technologies at IT Park and Innopolis University, forecasts that in the next 10-15 years those who will now develop and create this digital medicine will have total supremacy in engineering ideas. He expressed his thoughts in an op-ed column for Realnoe Vremya.
What we’ve come to in the last five years
Firstly, contextual advertising shows you information about medical services or clinics even though you have never searched specifically for these services and were completely unaware of the existence of such clinics.
This is one of the most obvious results an Internet user can see today, in December 2021. And this can be directly considered as digitalisation of medicine: an algorithm will find out where you are and suggest you an ad of the clinic you regularly pass by (for instance, it is close to your house or work).
Secondly, the colossal openness of medical and related data, their instantaneous transmission on the Net provides big successes in treatment.
For instance, patients with cancer tolerate the treatment better and more effectively than before because they can be diagnosed earlier by sending their depersonalised data via the Net. It seems to be a very cool story.
In every specific case, health workers face the necessity of reading this data and analysing it. However, in the last five years, systematically, this hasn’t happened either at federal or regional level. We don’t see online diagnostics becoming a usual occurrence. The reason is simple: at the moment, we are just building an ecosystem. Process automation, training of both patients and doctors and in general immersion into digitalisation were the first step on this path. Yes, the pandemic significantly reinforced the latter, immersion. Without doubt, all this began as early as 10 years ago. And in the last five years, features of the common system have appeared and the state and stakeholders have understood processes at regional level.
Who is interested in this at regional level
Of course, the Ministry of Health Care comes to our mind. Indeed, it is interested in health care digitalisation almost more than anybody else. This provides clear technologies to treat patients, illustrative records in all health care areas, immediate document exchange, a myriad of other useful processes.
But only 30% of a person’s health is provided by doctors and hospitals. The other 70% depend on their lifestyle, nutrition, the stress level in general, life factors. So there must be anyway more stakeholders in health care digitalisation.
A task force designed to introduce and develop digital medical technologies was created in Kazan. The initiative was launched by several high-tech start-ups. The tasks of the task force are to inventory current and developed solutions. As a consequence, it is planned to create a vendor lock, it will help to introduce and sell solutions that are designed in Tatarstan. Moreover, not only to Russia but also to the countries that are close to us in mentality and economy.
Such an approach is similar to the method Huawei uses, thanks to which such projects as a smart tunnel at the airport are born. This novelty allows tourists to check in without any documents (either passports or tickets) and contact airport workers. Instead of the classic inspection, a passenger can just check in at one of the airport gates where his iris will be scanned. Then this data is automatically attached to his transport cards and other documents that are already in the database.
The most amazing practices are now linked with the use of AI to recognise CT and their primary analysis without a doctor. Many thanks should be said to the republic that it was one of the first to start launching such technologies.
Republican Clinical Hospital and Radlogics international company became one of the vanguards in this field in our country. They were one of the first to use cross-cutting technology in medical processes. But they have worthy rivals such as Skolkovo residents, and thanks to Moscow Experiment, such engineers have equal rights to the expertise in these solutions.
But why do we fall behind?
Unfortunately, we don’t yet know how to do this like it is done in Israel, create target tasks for technology teams to create products and services that could fit in an ecosystem of health care institutions for obvious reasons (both public and private).
We lack staff, budget, many other necessary resources. Because doctors who save lives every minute cannot deal with digitalisation. While programmers creating amazing solutions and services cannot treat patients via Wi-Fi.
Perhaps, I exaggerate but to unite these two communities “under one roof,” the foundation should first be laid. It is necessary to lay optic fibre in hospitals, provide the 5G, 6G networks so that a doctor can do an examination with a tablet, not a pen and a notebook. Also, it is necessary to make sure this infrastructure can operate uninterruptedly, even considering potential force majeure.
In other words, any gadgets and heavy medical complexes must be provided with uninterrupted power sources and continue working, even if electricity is out in the whole area (like this often happens in some remote Russian cities).
Internet of Medical Things and “new DNA” of medical world
The modern world dictates us an arms race, but these aren’t the arms people kill each other with. It isn’t about wars. It is about big and small, fixed and mobile medical devices and, of course, IoMT (Internet of Medical Things). Not only a doctor but also a patient uses it. And this indeed looks like tomorrow has already come.
Now patients in Skolkovo, a branch of the Israeli clinic Hadassah, can daily send data to a doctor with the help of a multiparameter device and have an offline appointment only once in two weeks. At the same time, the doctor doesn’t spend time to understand the patient’s history and learn his lifestyle but as an analyst deals with his health seeing his data shown in dynamics, trends.
We should learn how to do such things ourselves. For this, universities, clinics, leaders of regional IT businesses should gather in one place. They should agree with each other and gradually introduce a new business DNA into their processes. It is time to start shaping our new medical future everywhere.