Envisioning healthcare in 100 years | What Canada’s Physicians Say

Unless you’re Marty McFly, going backwards is never as fun or entertaining as going forward. The beauty of dreaming of the future is that the reality you create extends as far as the limits of your imagination.

Logic and reality play crucial roles in health care delivery and medicine today. But, when dreaming of the future — especially 100 years into the future — we can reasonably eschew some of those ties to physical, technological and social constraints. We can allow our minds to wander. We can talk about the things that we know won’t be possible in our lifetimes.

So we asked The Rounds, What will hospitals and healthcare look like in 100 years?

Here’s what physicians on the network suggested:

Hospitals will shrink in size

More medical services will be administered out of people’s homes as they connect with physicians more and more online and through secure channels. What this will mean is that in 100 years, hospitals will only be there for surgeries, intensive care and emergencies. What will we do with all the extra buildings?

Diagnoses will come more easily

While it’s not hard to believe that doctors will move to meeting with more patients via video conference, some predict that smart technology and health apps will dominate our homes within the next century. From smart ‘commodes’ that will automatically analyse urine for irregularities to mattresses that will read a person’s temperature, it’s expected that health monitoring will become a larger part of our everyday lives and homes.

We will have a cure for breast cancer and MS

Day in and day out, medical researchers are getting closer to the next big breakthrough. Whether it’s cancer, MS or Alzheimer’s, the predictions are the significant inroads will be made in certain therapeutic areas in the next century.

The general population will be taller and live longer

This prediction, in fact, is nothing new. When asked this question a century ago, people predicted humanity would grow taller over time — and they were right. The average height has gone up by a few inches over the past ten decades. Going forward, the expectation is that people will continue to top the charts in terms of average height. Furthermore, advances in healthcare and disease prevention will also mean that people will start to live longer. Eventually, a life expectancy of 100 will not be uncommon.

Canada’s health insurance model will be different than it is today

Healthcare costs in Canada are a multi-billion dollar industry. It stands to reason that the system will have to adapt or Canadians will continue to face increasing wait times, physician and nursing shortages, bed shortages and so on. Predictions are that Canada will slowly evolve to a new form of healthcare funding that will be more sustainable.

Multiple births will rise and more women will give birth in their 40s and 50s

As life extending technology will continue to improve, so too will fertility treatments. Right now, by way of reproductive technologies, women are giving birth (sometimes to multiples) well into their 40s. As our population gets healthier and lives longer, this trend is expected to continue.

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