Is this the future of medicine?

Posted on 20th November 2012

In a report that will be presented to the Royal Society of Medicine next week, Dr Marco Palomino will outline the ways in which digital technology is likely to impact future health care.

Dr Palomino’s research focuses on Horizon Scanning and has used powerful internet search tools to identify hot topics in medicine, and ‘eHealth’ in particular.

The term eHealth refers to the delivery of health care and health resources by electronic means, and is an area which is likely to be of major importance as digital technology becomes more widely used.

High on the list of new developments in the field is the use of artificial intelligence to deliver medical services. One example, SkinVision, is a mobile application that allows users to take a photo of a skin lesion and submit it for almost immediate assessment. With fields like dermatology based on common patterns in skin conditions, computer based analyses could offer huge benefits in initial assessments.

The use of social networks is another area that could deliver potential advantages. Recent research has shown that individuals with more friends on Facebook are likely to contract flu earlier in the season, and Google has already used flu data from search queries to help authorities predict where flu outbreaks are most likely to occur.

Dr Palomino’s research has also uncovered the increasing use of novel technologies such as 3D printing. Pioneering uses of this technology include accurate and immediate creation of prosthetic limbs – creating replacements based on scans of patients’ existing limbs.

The paper will be presented to the eHealth & Telemed conference on November 27th 2012.

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