The future of medicine: changes and challenges to consider

Medicine is changing, in part because of the increased availability of individual health data, along with analytical techniques known as "big data". This increased level of information will enable the advancement of precision medicine, with more personalised care and treatment. Increasingly empowered, patients will require access to and control over their information, according to their needs. Another major change will be the decentralisation of services encouraged by mobile technologies, telemedicine, artificial intelligence algorithms, 3D printing and biosensors. Although digital tools have been used in past health emergencies, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a universal catalyst for the digital transformation of both providers and consumers of healthcare services worldwide. 

The patient as the protagonist of their care
The paradigm in medicine is shifting. This shift puts the patient at the centre, and puts the patient at the centre, and puts the patient at the centre, and puts the patient at the centre, and puts the patient at the centre of their care. Telemedicine IT tools contribute to this patient empowerment, respond to the patient's need for information and transform the patient into an active agent of their care. In turn, these tools facilitate feedback, networking and resource optimisation.

The importance of the Electronic Health Record
One of the main sources of information for these tools is the Electronic Health Record (EHR). In the region, the Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires (HIBA) developed a Health Information System (HIS) that has a unique, modular, problem-oriented, patient-centred, online EHR. HIBA has recently been certified by HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) as level 7, the highest level in the Electronic Medical Records Adoption Model, being the first hospital in Argentina and the second in Latin America to reach this level.

In addition, this institution has a Personal Health Portal that provides personalised information on the user's health (test reports, self-management of appointments, news, among others) and works in direct interface with the Electronic Health Record; where a secure audio and video channel is established for telemedicine services. The Institution is currently developing community portals that will put users with the same pathologies in contact with each other.

Patient-tailored medicine
Probably the most significant impact of the new tools will be in the field of precision medicine. This takes into account individual genetic variability, the environment and lifestyles of each person as well as information obtained from mobile capture devices and biosensors.  Accurate study of the factors that influence health will enable more accurate diagnoses, more rational disease prevention strategies, better treatment selection and the development of new therapies.

Patient-centred medicine involves a shift from a descriptive model to a predictive model of disease and risk. To implement it, it will require the inclusion of information such as family, socio-economic, environmental, behavioural and lifestyle history.

A large amount of information will be generated by the patient himself or herself through the use of mobile technology, biosensors and self-monitoring tools that will allow the tracking and recording of this data. The use of mobile technologies would also allow the capture of a large amount of data at the patient's bedside, such as photographs of injuries.

 

Driver Medical