HSD Srinivas, Director – Health, Tata Trusts
Necessity is the mother of all inventions. The decade ahead, in the aftermath of the pandemic, will be an era of miniaturised diagnostics, treatment technologies, innovative skills and knowledge transfer techniques in the practice of medicine, necessitating a larger role for technology that can enable virtual medical practice.
The “new normal” would require practitioners of curative medicine to embrace advanced digital technologies, like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, VR/AR, robotics, much faster than they have been, so far. Development of “personalised” medicine based on the individual genome, leading to customised treatments could pick up much faster than it has seen, so far. Wearable devices that give alerts on preventive steps may become much more popular, if not mandatory
Immunology, genetics, biology will, probably, have more say than just clinical medicine. The proponents of public health and promoters of wellness should also be able to push for practice of evidence-based, protocolised medicine — a seemingly rational goal that has been difficult to achieve so far because of the fear of doctors losing their “individual touch and judgement.”
Individuals will need to acknowledge health as their own responsibility, and adhere with basic mandates of public hygiene, personal etiquette, healthy practices, besides social responsibility with a sense of discipline. Simultaneously, the leadership, at various levels of the nation, will be mindful of the need for stepped up, planned investments in public health systems.