Healthcare is something that affects all of us, so naturally, lots of people are curious about how the field is developing and evolving over time. While the healthcare field moves way too quickly and unpredictably to talk about with any degree of certainty, we can make a couple of educated guesses. Technology often evolves at an unexpected pace, technology can arrive much sooner, though more often much later than we anticipate.
However, we can certainly make an educated guess as to what is likely to happen over the next couple of decades. There are some technologies that we are just seeing into fruition, but others are still at the incubation stage. Beyond those, we have the speculative world of the far future. Ideas that seem impossible now are still worth exploring because they may well become possible in the future.
Up until around 24 weeks, a fetus is unable to survive outside the womb in all but the rarest of cases. At 24 weeks, with all the medical technology available to us today, a 24-week old fetus will have a 50% chance of surviving outside the womb, and it has taken some time to get the figure that high!
Part of the difficulty is that, as yet, we aren’t able to create an artificial machine or equipment that can replicate the environment of the womb. Modern incubators are impressive devices, but we are some way from being able to take a sperm and an egg, mix them together, and then implant the fertilized egg into the artificial womb to grow. This may well be an ultimate goal, as it would enable infertile couples or couples who have trouble conceiving to produce a child together.
We are now seeing the first private businesses beginning to invest in space travel. This is a very exciting time for a number of reasons. With healthcare, many Americans are uneasy about handing control over to the government. However, the overwhelming evidence from around the world is that, while imperfect, government-administered healthcare leads to an overall healthier population.
But the reality is what it is. Private businesses and individuals are making some hugely positive contributions to healthcare in a number of ways. For example, as this article about Jim Plante and the donation he made to a company that is developing a treatment for kidney disease shows, individual patrons can enable pioneering treatments to be attempted.
Electronics woven into clothes are now becoming a reality. We have already seen a smart shoe from a major sports manufacturer, as well as Samsung announcing the development of a smart shirt. Clothes that are functional in a very literal sense are just around the corner. About a decade ago, a Mexican company released its own smart bra, which was purportedly able to detect cancer and alert the user.
The field of healthcare continues to advance at a breakneck speed. There are few certainties about what the future will look like, but we think that the technologies above are going to play a vital part.