October 2, 2023

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An Upside Down Future for Healthcare – The Health Care Blog



I locate myself imagining about the potential a great deal, in component mainly because I have somehow gathered so much earlier, and in portion mainly because contemplating about the existing ordinarily depresses me.  I’m not so certain the potential is heading to be greater, but I even now have hopes that it can be far better.  

Two posts just lately supplied some great insights into how to believe about the long run: Kevin Kelly’s How to Foreseeable future and an besides from Jane McGonigal’s new e-book Conceivable: How to See the Future Coming and Feel Completely ready for Anything―Even Issues That Look Not possible These days that was posted in Fast Firm.

I’ll briefly summarize every single and then consider to utilize them to healthcare.


Mr. Kelly – a founding Govt Editor of Wired (and now “Senior Maverick” there), editor/ publisher of Great Instruments – posits that futurists will need to glance at the previous, present, and future.  “They appear meticulously at the past since most of what will come about tomorrow is by now occurring nowadays,” he notes.  “The previous is the bulk of our lives, and it will be the bulk in the foreseeable future.”  

As for the present: 

It is often mentioned that most futurists are seriously predicting the current. It turns out that the present is extremely tough to see…So a very good futurist spends a lot of time trying to decipher the existing and to test to see it via the mask of present-working day biases…I often assume of “seeing the present” as making an attempt on alien eyes seeking at the earth as if I were being an alien from another plane.

As for the potential, he suggests, “I find it practical to unleash the creativeness and seeking to imagine in unattainable things…there is an art to believing in impossible matters well. It is a lot more like remaining open to choices, to listening to what is probable.”  

Mr. Kelly suggests hoping to image the “history” of an imagined long term, the methods needed to get to X in year YYYY, so that we can fully grasp “What kinds of technology and legal guidelines and social expectations wanted to be in place year by calendar year in get to get there at that state.” Having said that, he warns: “Most critical, the key task is to assume about the outcomes of X arriving. What would we do if X was true? How do we deal with it? How do we regulated it? How does it change us as individuals?” 


Dr. McGonigal – a recreation designer, Director at The Institute for the Upcoming, and co-founder of wellness application/activity SuperBetter – shares five suggestions for imagining the foreseeable future:

Get a Ten Year Trip to the Long term: “Ten years for the reason that that is ample time for society, and your individual existence, to become drastically various. It’s adequate time for new technologies to scale up and realize worldwide influence. It’s sufficient time for social actions to obtain historic victories. It’s more than enough time for major new strategies to choose root, achieve traction, and transform the world.” 

Be Preposterous – At Initially: “Any helpful statement about the potential need to at 1st seem to be ridiculous…We need to have to get ready our collective imagination for “unimaginable” possibilities…If something feels unimaginable, that is the idea-off that it is an necessary future to start contemplating about.”

Glimpse for Clues: “To find foreseeable future clues, you need to have to produce a way of observing the world in which you spot bizarre things that many others ignore.  You ought to continually house in on factors you haven’t beforehand encountered, items that make you say, “Huh…strange,” and “I surprise why which is taking place.”

Change the Earth Upside-Down: “If your creativity feels stuck in the existing, then rewrite the points of currently. Make a listing of up to a hundred things that are accurate now, then flip them upside-down…Turning the planet upside-down can help clarify what adjustments you want in modern society and your possess lifestyle.”

Establish Urgent Optimism: “Urgent optimism is a hugely motivating, resilient mindset made up of a few critical psychological strengths: psychological flexibility, sensible hope, and potential electric power.’


In health care, the previous is, for greater and for even worse, normally with us.  For instance, the central purpose of hospitals and medical practitioners is definitely above a century old, that of pharmaceutical companies just about that previous the pervasive existence of employer-supplied health insurance goes back to the 1940’s and that of Medicare/Medicaid to the 1960’s.  None of them seems most likely to go wherever at any time quickly. 

The present of our healthcare program is, as Mr. Kelly warns, is more challenging to see.  It has proved dangerously fragile in this pandemic.  It hardly ever has presented equivalent treatment, or even equivalent entry to care, to all people.  And, most frightening of all, in 2022 it turns out that we even now really do not know if most clinical remedies operate, much significantly less result in hurt.  

It’s not a “system” in any meaningful way, and I’m truthfully really hard pressed to assume of for whom it performs well even the folks receiving ridiculously compensated by it complain.  “Alien eyes” wanting at it could not even figure out it as wellbeing care, specifically taking into consideration we preserve having to pay far more and additional but are increasingly in even worse health and fitness.

So we require to imagine of preposterous futures, stuffed with difficult matters.  We will need to convert healthcare upside-down, as Dr. McGonigal might say.  Ten yrs is not going to be more than enough we require to be considering about 2050, or 2100.  

In my upside-down healthcare environment, we don’t have medical professionals and hospitals.  Treatment is done at dwelling, supported by assistive/supportive know-how and overseen by synthetic intelligence.  Wellness is monitored in authentic-time and any required changes are produced virtually as swiftly, this sort of as via the nanobots swimming within us or in the remedies/products we 3D print at residence.  Treatment choices and treatment plans are based mostly on proof, gathered and analyzed on an ongoing basis, not on intuition, custom, or private choices.  Technological know-how has lowered expenses so considerably that insurance coverage is not required.

We acknowledge that wellbeing starts with how we are living – what we eat, in which we reside, what we breathe, how a lot money we have, how we earn our residing, to identify a couple.  We need to have substantial price savings in health care to invest in people.  

Wherever are all the healthcare staff in this long run?  I really do not know, but healthcare is not intended to be a work opportunities method.  It’s intended to be about sustaining/improving upon our wellbeing.


Sound ridiculous?  Fantastic that is how we know we’re hoping hard plenty of.  

I’m going to preserve searching for clues to that potential, be they enhancements in AI, turd robots, or RNA computer systems – “weird stuff that other folks ignore,” as Dr. McGonigal suggests.  I want to be open to the options that health care can grow to be, not minimal by our expectations about what it is now.

We need far more urgent optimism about fixing healthcare.

Kim is a previous emarketing exec at a significant Blues program, editor of the late & lamented Tincture.io, and now normal THCB contributor.


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