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A 3D printed prosthetic arm is displayed in the Science Museum on October 8, 2013 in London, England.

Bertalan Mesko is a medical futurist, geneticist, international speaker and consultant. He is the founder of Webicina.com, a site that curates medical social media resources for patients and medical professionals, the author of the Social Media in Clinical Practice handbook. Follow him on Twitter. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely his.

The medical and healthcare sectors are in the midst of rapid change, and it can be difficult to see which new technologies will have a long-lasting impact.

Ideally, the future of healthcare will balance innovative medical technologies with the human touch. Here, I’ve outlined the trends most likely to change our lives, now or in the near future.

Augmented reality becomes real

Bertalan Mesko

Bertalan Mesko

Google Glass has already been used to live-stream a surgery, from the surgeon’s perspective. Such augmented reality devices will in the future be able to display the patient’s electronic medical records real-time, organize live consultations and call the ambulance to the exact GPS location in emergency situations.

While Google Glass can be controlled through voice and hand gestures, digital contact lenses will be controlled with brain waves. Patients could go through an upcoming operation step-by-step via virtual reality or choose a hospital based on its “virtual experience” package.

Artificial intelligence in medical decision-making

The knowledge of even the most acclaimed professors cannot compete with cognitive computers. The amount of medical information is growing exponentially, and the use of such solutions in assisting medical decision-making is inevitable.

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