Yessirree, things sure ain’t what they used to be! Just take the new hospital in town…not a patient in sight!
That’s because the new high-tech hospitals don’t have patients. Instead, they have a small but highly-skilled medical team, backed by top-class technicians, and a bewildering array of technology. And they can be anywhere in the world.
The patients are right where they ought to be – at home, or at worst, when serious medical intervention is required, in a nearby specialized clinic for a short stay, before they’re back home again.
The doctors use everything from high-tech remote electronic operating systems and computerized diagnostic machines, to low-tech Skype to meet, interview, diagnose and treat patients. Many medicines can now be ‘printed’ on specialist 3D printers available in every Post Office, or quickly delivered through high-speed local logistics, a huge growth industry.
“We’re able to ‘see’ more patients, and diagnose them accurately, thanks to technology,” says Dr Sheila Deneuve, director of Invisible Hands, the World Health Organization-backed conglomerate that has set up virtual hospitals all over the globe. “And now we are able to offer first-world diagnosis even to poor patients in remote areas.”
Getting actual treatment to such patients remains a challenge, but innovation in the health sector is booming, right down to using unmanned drones to deliver medical supplies to far-flung regions – although dealers in illicit drugs have quickly jumped onto this bandwagon.
“Technology is truly reinventing our profession,” says Dr Deneuve. “The development of the Tricorder in 2016 made basic diagnosis simple and immediate. But the big breakthrough is that specialists can live wherever they want – and still actively treat patients all over the world.”