Fiction often has a complex intertwining relationship with reality. While the latter ostensibly inspires the former, sometimes, the reverse is true, especially when it comes to technology. In fact, many of the 21st Century’s innovations and appliances will probably seem like science fiction to people living half a century ago: portable black glass devices that provide access to a worldwide network of information; lightweight drones that carry packages across urban cityscapes; self-automated machines being sent to the farthest reaches of space. Indeed, it is easy to forget the wonders brought about by modern technology, wonders that also extend to the field of healthcare. EHR platforms are just one of the more well-known innovations in the last few decades. With that said, what will the future of medical technology hold? When will we be able to develop advanced, high-tech, sci-fi Esque healthcare?
Blueprints of the Future
Sci-fi is a genre of fiction that concerns itself with fabulous yet grounded concepts, such as space travel, advanced technology, etc. While the commercial factor of science fiction works cannot be denied, they are nonetheless an important part of culture in how it reflects the expectations, hopes, and possibilities of the zeitgeists that they were produced in. The quintessential cyberpunk novel Neuromancer by William Gibson, for example, elevates the burgeoning digital technologies of the 1980’s and creates a future where digital technology has been incorporated in all levels of society, including business, communication, leisure, and crime. Come the 21st Century, and “cyberspace” is no longer fiction. In short, sci-fi works can be considered blueprints of the future, exploring the possible trajectories of tomorrow brought about by changes in technology and science.
Closer to Reality
Today’s medical technology still has a long way before it achieves the same utopian omnipotence of sci-fi healthcare (such as the ones in Star Trek.) However, in today’s rapidly-progressing technological environment, innovations like A.I algorithms and 3D-surgery simulators are quickly being utilized and explored. Small but useful innovations like mobile medical apps for patients are making people’s lives easier, and healthcare can now be provided remotely via telemedicine. Such healthcare inventions might seem like science fiction, but right now, they are a medical reality. This brings us to the title of this article; how close are we to achieving highly-advanced, sci-fi-esque healthcare? In short, we already have, with advancements that are closer to reality than one might initially imagine.