American medicine provides some of the world’s most innovative treatment, but variability of care across the healthcare system is high, the costs are becoming unbearable, and the overall system has not kept up with rapid technological change. The next Administration has made reforming the healthcare system a priority. The best way truly revolutionize the practice of medicine is to look to the future and leverage the power of data, scientific, and technological advances.
The future of medicine in America works for the patients, not for the status quo. It harnesses technological advancement, open data, and personal data to bring innovation to the forefront, to lower costs, prevent disease, and improve treatment. To reach this future, we need policy solutions and funding plans that are as pioneering, flexible, and as rapid as the science and technology that will bring us new cures.
Incremental revisions to current policy and funding programs cannot get us to this future; visionary policy and programs that are designed from the foundation up will. Piling more layers on the ailing and crippled healthcare policy foundation of the past works against us and keeps our systems locked into a dysfunctional and obsolete framework. Structuring regulation and targeting investment together towards a data-driven, risk sharing, and patient-centered future for medicine are key to enabling a brighter future.
An effective revolution in medicine should:
Harness the potential of big data and internet-of-things devices. The future of medicine will take advantage of real-time sensing and data collection capabilities. Diagnostics will transcend reliance on comparisons to average expected values and be determined by the precision of individual health baselines. Individualized treatment and diagnosis will often happen outside of the clinic during daily life. Data from every patient and every treatment will be integral to the continuous evaluation and re-evaluation of medical practice.
Shine a light onto healthcare economics. The current system obscures economic data in order to continue charging America more for providing poorer care; transparency is key to building the healthcare system of the future. Price discovery coupled with real-time analytics will reduce costs and abuse, reveal inequities so that they can be addressed, and enable competition and the development of new mechanisms for cost sharing, liability, and insurance.
Train the healthcare workforce of the future. Artificial-intelligence-based medical education systems, modular certification infrastructure, and simulation-based practicums will allow us to develop the types of skilled providers that we need where and when we need them. Future licensing and certification requirements will be based upon the knowledge and skills that practitioners need for the practice of medicine in a real-time, data-driven world.
Re-envision the biomedical research system. The future of research will be built upon a foundation of artificial intelligence and real-time sensors. It will be relieved of barriers to data access. Better physical models of human health will be realized, ushering a new a new era of personalized medicines and treatments that target causes instead of symptoms of disease. Research will be a national pursuit with every patient participating as a partner. Enabled by a system that connects everyone and everything, clinical trials will be long-term, large cohort, and diverse. Discoveries will come from our homes and our high schools as well as our universities and industry.
America needs a healthcare plan for the future, designed to shape a system that will support innovations in healthcare delivery, treatment, science, and technology for 2050 and beyond. The new Administration has an opportunity to reimagine healthcare as we know it and make America the world leader in healthcare innovation and opportunity. A revolutionized American healthcare system can be the greatest system that the world has ever seen!
This week we will be publishing excerpts from the Potomac Institute's latest report,
“THINK BIG: BIG Science, BIG Opportunities, and BIG Ideas.” THINK BIG argues that innovation in science and technology are the keys to American economic strength and national security. Rather than a return to the infrastructure, economy, and healthcare systems of the past, the report calls for a vision for the future.