History Of Health Technologies And Meaningful Change In The Era Of Health 4.0

dr. Ali Tinazli is the CEO of lifespin.health and has 15+ years in Fortune 100 corporate strategy and entrepreneurship (SONY, HP).

The medicine in ancient Egypt is some of the oldest in history. Although rudimentary, it was already highly personalized and with exclusive access. During the Renaissance—one of the most remarkable ages of mankind—medicine had a modern foundation and shifted to a scientifically-based discipline.

However, it still needed standardization of quality. In the 1960s, laboratories moved from physician offices to centralized and increasingly automated infrastructures. The industrialization of the diagnostics element of medicine was a critical step in the standardization of healthcare, leading to a rise in quality correlated to increasing complexity, specialization and cost.

We are now at a tipping point in the US, where the inability to afford healthcare overwhelms millions, with a cost burden of about 20% of the GDP. At the same time, the number of physicians is shrinking, adding to accessibility and affordability problems.

Health 4.0 Can Halt Health Inequalities

New paradigm shifts are needed to overcome the problem of health inequalities plaguing society today. Industry 4.0 has already coined 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 interrelation between the analog 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 have seen in bioscience and medicine are only the start of what is to come.

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

Innovation Will Unravel The Mystery Of Diseases

Technological advancements and innovative techniques once considered too “out there” for conventional medicine are now celebrated as transformative. For instance, in my field of metabolomics, we can now digitize human blood samples in minutes and mine with advanced algorithms the quantitative metabolic data of cells to access vital health data and information.

Researchers at the forefront of bioscience and medicine are working together to unravel the mystery behind diseases that stumped experts only a decade ago. Data integration, advanced analytics and visualization techniques allow quick and accurate assessments of even the most challenging medical cases.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) and radio-frequency identification (RFID) will bring revolutionary change to medicine. Time-saving and cost-effective wearables, medical devices and robots will allow us to deliver care expediently and far beyond previous expectations.

These enormous medical breakthroughs save time, money and worry on the way to finding personalized solutions for patients. And, while the digitalization of medicine prioritizes the use of cutting-edge technology, it will not and should not replace the human connection physicians bring to patient care.

Addressing Physician Burn-Out And Overwhelm With Technology

The US is facing a projected physician shortage of between 37,800 and 124,000 within 12 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). We must utilize all available time-saving and cost-effective applications, algorithms and techniques.

In doing so, we can deliver care expediently and far beyond our previous expectations while cutting demands on an overstressed healthcare system. Innovative medicine saves precious resources for healthcare providers and brings forth high-quality medical services by integrating cross-disciplinary resources.

Converging biomedicine and technology means swifter and more accurate treatment plan decisions, alleviating physicians’ overwhelm and inclination for burnout.

Precision Medicine And The IoMT Promise Healthcare For All

Technological breakthroughs in precision medicine have resulted in new algorithms that can analyze the whole genome in hours or capture metabolic profiles to better understand biology.

Precision medicine means we can now consider the unique genetic and metabolic inclinations for disease among individual patients. For instance, just because two patients suffer from the same autoimmune disease does not mean they will respond the same way to a given treatment.

Therefore, collective knowledge will lead to better insights into what medications or treatments will work best for each patient and allow for dynamic adjustments in treatment. Data from a blood sample or wearable smart devices can inform the appropriate next steps and treatment options.

We can now bridge computation and medical expertise to improve human health outcomes and yield better results for patients worldwide via medical devices equipped with Wi-Fi. Patients and their physicians can communicate without hospital or office visits by allowing the transfer of medical data over a secure network.

Thanks to IoMT capabilities, machine-to-machine communication can bring better, affordable, accessible lifesaving consults and diagnostics—as well as treatments—to poverty-stricken regions and remote villages.

Empowered Patients Are At The Center Of Health 4.0

I am working with my company to transform conventional blood samples into digital ones 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 numerous health testing events. These testing events are based on Data Science and are purely in-silico vs. the conventional in-vitro legacy.

Because the scaling of this technology is based primarily on cloud capabilities, it will drastically improve the accessibility and affordability of novel precision health tools. Hence, the democratization of novel, efficient precision medicine tools will elevate the quality of life.

Health 4.0 will continue to promote patient-centered healthcare supported by AI and ML data science, which will lead to the harnessing of deep insights and vastly improved medical outcomes.

Empowered patients are no longer willing to sit idly by regarding health decisions and treatment plans. As a result, the treatment paradigm is now forever altered. 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 enabled by consumer and digital technologies.


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