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Houston 2035 Predictions: Health Care

Houston 2035 Predictions: Health Care

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ROBERT C. ROBBINS, M.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Texas Medical Center

In 2035, there will be wireless transmission of data to your health care provider. Potentially, you could even envision that information being included in a primary care physician’s panel of patients. The hope would be that they would look at your weight, temperature, exercise, diet and other specific information, from your oxygen saturation to your ability to perform basic tasks. Your physicians would be getting that data, and there would be better artificial intelligence algorithms that would be constantly analyzing that data to alert them when necessary.

There will be an evolution over the next 20 years, much like when Medicare was passed in 1965—at the time, there was significant backlash against that. Today, it has progressed and gone through many different iterations, changes and amendments that have been accretive to the initial bill that was passed. I think the same thing is going to happen for our entire population. The mechanism and the funding for that are still to be determined.

Patients will be better-educated consumers of health care, and can use that information to promote their own personal health, taking greater responsibility and ownership. We’re going to have enough data to know when we need to lose a little weight, work on our exercise capacity, or even get an inhaler. If I know I have the gene for colon cancer, for example, I need to change my diet, exercise more and potentially take drugs that may be protective, such as vitamin D or aspirin. In that case, I’d be especially fastidious in making sure that I get frequent colonoscopies. If I know that I have a family history of breast cancer, I’m going to be more fastidious about mammograms and other tests that we haven’t even thought of yet—those might use nanotechnology and molecular imaging to be able to guide us. All invasive treatments are going to use more sophisticated image guiding therapies.

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