As we head into the second quarter of this 21st century, these are the possible 20 trends and developments in medicine and health care for children:
- Genomic medicine becomes routine and commonplace with genomic sequencing affordable and part of personalized and precision medicine;
- Diagnoses will no longer be at the tissue or organ levels but rather at the molecular and genetic levels with repairs at the cellular level;
- Regenerative medicine and stem cells with 3-D bioprinting technology render replacement organs and body parts easily accessible;
- Pediatric nanomedicine becomes a hot area of clinical and basic science research with many breakthroughs for cancer therapy and others;
- A comprehensive universal vaccine will be available for all infectious diseases and be given to all children all over the world;
- Robotic science allows routine pediatric care to be delivered by smart robots with precision and autonomy as well as dexterity;
- Handicapped children will be fitted with mobile exoskeletons rather than being in wheelchairs or with crutches;
- Robotic surgery using augmented reality becomes routine and safe and even replace surgeons for some simple surgical procedures;
- Advanced radiologic imaging will be routinely three-dimensional and be interpreted by artificial intelligence software with few diseases amenable to ultrasound therapy;
- Chronic pediatric care is facilitated by a myriad of wearable smart system of physiologic sensors and laboratory on a chip;
- Microprocessor technology for vision and hearing will enable children who are blind and deaf to see and hear for the first time;
- Electronic databases are queried easily by health care workers using human language and natural language processing to yield meaningful answers;
- Artificial intelligence(AI) in a myriad of forms is utilized widely in the hospital under the guidance of the chief intelligence officer, who is trained in AI;
- Children’s hospitals all have innovation centers headed by a chief innovation officer who overlooks innovation projects;
- Patients and families are empowered with their own medical data and provide input into their decision-making as well as lead clinical research trials;
- Advances in vaccine technology and decreases in poverty level prolong the average lifespan of third and fourth World countries to close to 85 years;
- Children with psychosocial disorders are helped by virtual assistants who diagnose and interact with them through their disease process;
- Emphasis on heart health and new medications as well as continual biomarker monitoring result in drastic decreases in childhood obesity and diabetes;
- The aging world population creates a further shift in health care resource allocation away from pediatric patients and increase demand for robotic support;
- Homes supported by virtual visits become more capable of managing critically-ill children and children’s hospitals become short-term diagnostic facilities.
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