I’ve been privileged over my 20-year career to see a host of new and exciting additions to the world of medical technology take off, and none have had the impact of smartphones and instant internet access.
But while apps and high-speed data continue to revolutionize healthcare, can we dare to ask what the near future holds?
As an entrepreneur, engineer, and author, I think of this often and have concluded that the following spheres of development are where our future lies.
Social Identity and MedTech
For one, we’re going to see official medical data link up in increasingly streamlined ways that intersect with a person’s online identity. This is and will be done through social media and phone data, and form clear pictures of who is being treated, what their habits are, and how they spend their time.
As we speak, I’m watching a new era (and economy) unfold in which your online personality and activity are neither private nor compartmentalized. This will take advances in machine learning and better software integration, but progress is already being made.
Possible platforms to be integrated might include :
- Facebook / Meta
- X (formerly known as Twitter)
How will this work? Let’s say you tell your doctor that you haven’t had a beer in months. But a network of machine learning algorithms has already scanned and interpreted social media images of you downing multiple beers this past weekend. Now this data’s appearing on your medical file, right in front of your doctor.
These emerging technologies will allow vast amounts of patient info to be unified and made more accurate. At the same time, they’ll raise yet-to-be-answered questions about patient privacy and the ethics of big data.
The takeaway : make sure you tell the truth online and get ready for your digital ID and actual medical ID to blend permanently.
Hardware and Neurological Interfaces
You’ve likely heard of Neuralink. Hardware, software, and the human nervous system, powered by Elon Musk’s innovative technology, will work together to restore communication, sensation, mobility, and independence to injured men and women.
These technologies can help
- Combat veterans
- Patients with degenerative conditions like M.S.
- Victims of car or rail accidents
- Individuals unable to speak
I’ll never forget a dear friend of mine from my college years. His name was Vikram, and he was a promising, bright, wonderful young man. I admired his fantastic drive and his clear brilliance. We all watched this young man do exceptionally well and knew he had a bright and enviable career in business in front of him.
Until a tragic accident robbed him of his ability to walk. A drunk driver thoughtlessly ran into his scooter one night, injuring Vikram’s spinal cord, and changing the course of his life forever. He survived, but the medical technology of the day couldn’t give him back the use of his legs.
What could Neuralink have done for Vikram? So many things…. His recovery time could have been reduced by fractions, and instead of cruelly crippling him, the accident may have left him only temporarily unable to walk.
Neuralink implants and robotics have innumerable applications, and I’m excited to see this technology not only heal the injured but vastly upgrade what the average man or woman can do.
Virtual and Augmented Reality Will Play A Role
The first time I tried on VR headsets, I was immediately nauseous. The technology was primitive, and my stomach could tell! But I also knew that the technology had immense potential, especially as the apparatus shrunk and became easier to integrate.
Tomorrow’s augmented reality goggles will likely be in-eye implants that interface wirelessly with the internet and with your own nervous system. Serving up a fascinating and beneficial blend of augmented reality and bionic tech, this technology
- Will help surgical students learn their skills
- Allow therapy patients to seemingly teleport to a restful beach for meditation
- Help recipients of artificial limbs practice walking down a street, without leaving physical therapy
The applications are nearly limitless, I’m excited to see how quickly this field can develop. I predict we’ll also see the field play a vital role in
- Restoring sight
- Improving vision
- Allowing humans to see new waves of light not previously visible; no night vision goggles are needed!
Those in the MedTech field should prepare themselves to invest in, use, and sell a variety of new technologies. These innovations will integrate into the human nervous system to optimize our body’s natural abilities and help heal disease, too.
What Will This All Look Like?
We’re about to see a revolution in the integration of machine learning, the internet, and bionic hardware. You’ll see multiple companies advancing and seeking to outpace each other at once. This will create a medtech environment rife with competition and awash with new products.
The biggest names won’t always produce the best tech. It will be up to you to do your due diligence and make sure that the medical technology you bring on board is safe, ethical, works well, and will help rather than hurt patients.
I’ve seen companies leap to do business with leaders in traditional tech, only to find that their latest futuristic hardware is deficient. Be ready for the future, and be prepared for the technology to go through some initial phases of “almost there” before you invest and adopt. This is where keeping an eye on certifications and government safety approval will be key.
Looking To The Future
As a medtech entrepreneur and emerging digital economies watcher, I can guarantee that we will see growth in the following sectors :
- Social Identity and MedTech integration
- Medical Data streamlining
- Neuralink Hardware helps restore mobility
- Advancements in human capabilities through neural implants
- Augmented and Virtual Reality
None of this is science fiction; keep in mind that all of this technology already exists, and is being honed and perfected as we speak. The final keys to turn will be total integration, seamless multi-platform wireless communication, and improvements to existing biotech hardware and software.
How can you prepare? Do what I’ve always done;
- Stay informed
- Do intensive homework when choosing a supplier
- Look for hardware and software packages that integrate seamlessly
- Stay up to date on government safety certifications for all products and corporations to help you invest wisely
Realize that the medical field is about to be revolutionized by integrated tech, bionics, digital identities, and the Internet of Things to create some truly incredible new advancements.
Be ready, think forward, invest discerningly, and you’ll be several steps ahead.