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The doctor will see you — how?

Forecasting the future of medical care
The students filling the lecture halls in health sciences colleges today are the medical professionals who will be taking care of you and your children in the years ahead.

But how will they practice medicine? What will the environment of medicine look like in 10, 20, 40 years?

Looking for a clue? Look no further than the students themselves — and devices both health care professionals and patients are using in their everyday lives.

“The health care environment isn’t keeping up with the students and education programs that are evolving, so the people we are training now are the ones who will change how health care is delivered,” said Daniel Clinchot, MD, vice dean for education at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Today, our medical knowledge doubles in a matter of months. By 2020, medical knowledge is projected to double every 73 days.

Having instant access to the newest information means doctors and nurses don’t have to keep all of the data in their heads.

“A great example is how our students educate patients by pulling up materials or diagrams on their phones. It’s point-of-care technology, and they do it so naturally from their phones,” Clinchot said.

The patient also will bring more knowledge to the table in the form of data. We already have a multitude of apps that monitor health — from steps and heart rate, to glucose levels and pacemaker readings. Clinchot said not only is that here to stay, but it’s going to explode.

“Biometric data sharing will be a driver in medical care. You’ll connect with your health care provider through a video link to discuss the data, what’s changed with your health, what needs to be worked on, and so forth. So there will be fewer trips to see a doctor,” Clinchot said.

Biometric and genomic data also will drive a big change from disease management to health management. The thought is that technology will get better at combining big data with a patient’s DNA profile, current health and social determinants to create a personal health risk profile.

Medicine will continue to take advantage of emerging technology in real time, helping to close the gap on health disparities.

“Technology will transform life for people who haven’t had good access to health care. Our ability to push and pull information through cell phones is improving and will impact people who aren’t close to academic medical centers, or even a hospital. We’ll reduce those barriers,” Clinchot said.

The Ohio State University is among only a few institutions in which health profession students train in a large academic setting where they also can interact and learn together.

“Our students train with world-renowned biomedical researchers and clinicians,” Clinchot said. “We have students working to solve real health problems from day one. That’s who you want taking care of you.”