We battle trojans. We create clouds. We silence trolls. We talk to daemons. We are found in cubicles, coffee shops and corner offices, the posts of the web’s wunderkind. But can we prevent chronic illness? Can we triage in a crisis? Can we improve the quality of elderly lives? What does the future hold for healthcare and the digital labor force?
Let’s fast forward to the year 2030.
The over-65 population has doubled from 2012 to 78 million. Twenty-one million of them are obese. Fourteen million live with diabetes. Twenty-six million suffer from arthritis. All are determined to maintain their active lifestyles.
Baby boomers overwhelm hospitals and clinics with joint replacements and physical therapy sessions. Exhausted doctors work doggedly to make their rounds and remotely treat hundreds of patients. Newly built labs scramble to increase efficiency and win their market share of over 55 million annual tests.
Nurses drive luxury vehicles and live in affluent neighborhoods. Everyone is in, or knows someone in medical school. Over four dozen sugar substitutes line the virtual shelf display of the local grocer, right under the over-the-counter insulin reviews. Acupuncture is the new aspirin. McDonald’s has a raw menu. Starbucks offers flu shots.
So what have we been up to?
Developers have created over four million new healthcare apps for handhelds. The most popular is myMRI, the app that optimizes and tags the MRI taken with a home machine and adds it to the appropriate physical therapist’s remote patient queue.
A group of entrepreneurs launched KneeBay, the first auction site for the consignment of prosthetics.
Social media marketers have integrated with paramedic and emergency room identity scanners to send instant notifications and updates to a person’s family and loved ones.
Search managers have successfully monetized Google Lab Results, where patients can see the results of their free diagnostic tests, a word from their sponsors and local listings for relevant healthcare practitioners.
UI designers have greatly improved upon user interfaces for remote surgery robotics, allowing surgeons to perform several operations at once.
Back to the year 2013, where it is now easy to visualize the ways today’s geeks can be tomorrow’s healthcare heroes.