Human health is a knowledge-intensive industry that is developing at an incredible speed. How will new technologies change it and who will be in demand on the labor market over the next 20 years? Over the past 100 years, the science of saving human lives has taken a huge step forward penetrating the secrets of a human body and psyche. It learned how to deal with infectious diseases, developed plastic surgery, mastered new means of surgical intervention, and kept abreast of the latest miniaturization achievements. We no longer have smallpox, we have forgotten what plague is, we know how to transplant heart. All this led to the fact that during the 20th century, the average life expectancy on the planet increased from 35 to 65 years. At the same time, we are in the epicenter of the genetic revolution, we are intensively studying the structure of brain, we hope for big data and robots, and we are waiting for breakthroughs in the fight against aging. Anyone who plans to associate his life with medicine today should take a closer look at the advanced edge of its development and understand how it can change by 2035.
Information technologies work alongside the new technologies and professions in all areas of human labor today. Doctors are no exception. Medical institutions polls are moving from analogue to digital, mastering computer analysis and forecasting systems. Tectonic shifts in the health care system in the foreseeable future are associated with increasing computing power and working with large data.
Network technologies and the computerization of the industry bring personalized medical services to the forefront. The development of tricorders, devices capable of diagnosing autonomously from a doctor, mobile applications and wearable gadget sensors will only add fuel to the fire. Health care will go beyond the polyclinics and hospitals, relieving them from small procedures and unnecessary bureaucracy. This will form a huge market for personalized therapy. Personal online doctors exist today, but over the coming decades they will dominate the professional environment. No one interested in a healthy lifestyle will refuse to have instant access to expert opinion, especially if there is a convenient platform for this, and diagnostic tools are at hand. The work of a doctor will be similar to the work of a personal trainer and psychoanalyst. In order to build a successful career in such a world, you will need qualifications that today are taught not in medical, but in marketing institutes - client orientation and the ability to work with people.
The process of personalization of medicine will be picked up by breakthroughs in the field of genetics. At the beginning of the 21st century, the international human genome project on DNA decoding was completed. The research cost $3 bln, and after 15 years the cost of personal sequencing of the genome fell below $1000. After 20 years, this procedure will be carried out at the time of birth, and everyone will know the characteristics of their genome as a blood group. Genetic consultants will appear on the labor market. They will help in interpreting the results, analyze the general state of health and send the patient to the right specialist.
Even more interesting is how new technologies in the field of genetic research will directly affect human health. For example, CRISPR/Cas9 system, which caused a lot of noise, is a DNA-mounting method that already allows you to directly manipulate genes. At the moment, technology is helping to combat serious diseases and opens up fantastic prospects in the field of DNA restructuring of embryos. And although it is still far from a complete understanding of the influence of the mechanisms of the human genome on health - additional research is needed - genetics are fundamentally changing the face of medicine.
Genetic manipulations and some other new technologies, such as facial transplants, neurobiology, and the manufacture of artificial organs, will require society to look for new norms and rules for regulating the medical industry. This will require experts with a radically new knowledge base - medical, philosophical, social and political. Today this area is known as “bioethics” and has already appeared in the programs of leading universities. The demand for specialists who provide an ethical framework for working with new technologies will grow with each new scientific breakthrough. Cloning, transplantology, DNA modeling, euthanasia and other sensitive issues will be addressed under the close supervision of specialists in bioethics.
In addition to genetics, science will provide the medical industry with a number of specialists in the field of bioimaging, targeted therapy, neurobiology, optogenetics, regenerative medicine and nanotechnology. These scientific areas today cause the greatest interest not only among experts, but also among the business community.
The development of modern medicine and the general rise in the standard of living have led to a dramatic change in the demographic structure of the population. In developed and developing countries, more and more older people appear. Changing the demographic situation will have a noticeable impact on the health care of the future. Firstly, this will lead to the emergence of a new type of medical workers - specialists in a decent old age, whose abilities and knowledge will be snapped up in a society dominated by people over 60 years old. Secondly, the science of life extension will be able to seriously change the structure of the industry, becoming the buffer for all new technologies that will be necessary for the aging population to maintain a high quality of life: from plastic surgery to bio printing of new organs in place of decaying ones. The demand for quality medical services will grow proportionally.
Medicine is waiting for big, but quite predictable changes. The next 20 years will be the era of personalization, computerization and biotechnology industry. This does not mean that the industry will experience a serious crisis. Just the opposite! New technologies are more likely to reveal the golden era of healthcare to humanity. More and more diseases are treatable. The cost of health is increasing every year. Innovations expand the market of medical services, adding a scattering of new workplaces, and the processes of automation do not threaten even the most unqualified personnel. In the future, medicine will remain with its best qualities - it will be an interesting, noble and profitable profession, and most importantly - for every taste.