It is clear, though, how the transfer of new technologies will be the main challenge of healthcare in the future. Without any doubt, a very important factor of change and development is the technology of information and communication. We need to be aware that the oldest generations are among the main users of healthcare and welfare services and that, increasingly, they are also users of digital devices, along with the people taking care of them. As is known, 2 billion people nowadays own a smartphone, and soon one adult every two will use one. In the developed world, 20% of the users have a health-related application installed on their device.
Digital medicine supports the supplying of health and social services in those cases where healthcare professionals and patients don’t share the same location. Sure enough, the digital world doesn’t know any border! In this way, the safe transmission of health data and information is guaranteed through texts, audio files, images or every other format needed for prevention, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of the patients.
In the European Union, our patients should be able to cross borders without acknowledging them but referring to the closest and the most accessible. Patients’ rights should cross all borders, starting with the ones in our heads. Domotics is a powerful tool to promote a health cross-border territory like this one. Promote and spread domotics in the territory and in the social care services, to realize the objectives of EU in the health field.
As pointed out by many studies, the key for the success of the digitalization of social and health care is the mandatory addition of patients in the therapy project and the involvement of doctors in a larger IT team, working together with marketing and media specialists and professionals. As is known, last year in November a robot in China reached the number of points needed for the state exam, thus graduating in medicine. It turned out to be extremely skillful with the questions involving memory and use of information, but it didn’t stand out with the direct responses to the patient’s problems. Technological support, like robotics or artificial intelligence, is very useful to evaluate a patient’s symptoms more quickly and to provide useful suggestions for the doctor. By adding information and functionalities, speed and accuracy of the decision process can surely improve, but closeness and human warmth cannot be replaced. Briefly: yes, to support, no to substitution.
To face the challenges of longevity, disability, chronicity and fragility of the population we need to exploit what technological revolution, artificial intelligence and renewable energy provide for the people and for the environments of life and care inside the communities, from now until 2030.
Today, the ones using domotics and robotics solutions, at home, at school, in rehabilitation hospitals and rest homes, are the ones that considered it and chose it at least 5 years ago: we need to think already today about tomorrow’s solutions. We need to have great vision of the future, in order to help in the best possible way, the people with disability, the elders, the patients with chronic-degenerative diseases, also to patent innovative ideas coming from these territories and, consequently, save economical resources that can be reinvested to reduce inequality in towns and cities.