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A vision of the 2030s

An increasingly ageing population will create new demands on our healthcare systems for technologies, products and services to promote independent, quality lives. 

There will be a significant increase in the use of wearable and implantable sensors to generate continuous, reliable and high-quality data, which will support data-driven models and AI systems to make health-related decisions.

There will be a shift towards proactive healthcare with a focus on predictive, preventative and personalised medicine which will be enabled by a detailed understanding of health and disease.

Educated and empowered citizens will take an active role in managing their health, supported by a more decentralised healthcare system.

Technological advances and the digital revolution will support both physical and mental health in co-ordinated and innovative ways.

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What does this mean for healthcare?

Decentralisation - Healthcare systems will be decentralised as citizens take a more active role in their health and wellbeing.

Measurement will enable remote consultation and intervention through AI-assisted diagnosis, telemedicine and remote treatment, and also to support responsive medical regulation.

Examples include: advances in wearable and implantable bioelectronics, empowered and proactive citizens being able to collect and securely share their personal data to improve their own health, cure or minimise the risk for a range of non-communicable diseases, advances in bioelectronics.

Complex systems - Predictive and preventative medicine will become a reality as the effects, risks and contributions from environmental, behavioural, biological and genetic factors are unravelled. 

Measurement will be needed of many factors to support healthcare decisions, the development of early warning and real-time systems for emerging health risks.  

Examples include: high volumes of complex and complementary data for analysis and decision making, modelling future scenarios for infectious diseases, internet linked health monitoring devices​, in-situ validation and calibration of sensors.

Regenerative medicine - Simulations of the activities, mechanics and physiological response of entire organs will enable regenerative medicine and transplants.

Measurement will be needed to understand biological functions and processes.   

Examples include: replacing animals for research, provide valuable data to study the effects of pharmaceuticals, haemodynamics.

Personalisation - Therapies, treatments and drugs will be individually designed as personalised medical interventions become the primary method of treating diseases.

Measurement will be needed to design and evaluate individualised interventions.

Examples include: cell and gene therapies developed through engineered biology, advances in '-omics' technologies (including metabolomics, genomics, radiogenomics and lipidomics), improved reliability of low-cost nanotechnology-based sensors and drug delivery systems.

Innovation - Advanced technologies will be used to treat, cure and prevent genetic and acquired diseases to revolutionise quality of life.

Measurement will be needed to develop new regulations and regulatory processes to build confidence in new technologies.

Examples include: 3D biomaterial printers, advanced and combined radiotherapies, one-stop diagnostic and treatment solutions, modelling for the biological, medical and pharmaceutical sectors, machine-brain interfacing.

Healthcare: implications for measurement

Metrology, or the science of measurement, is about more than the routine making of measurements, it’s about the infrastructure that ensures that we have confidence in the accuracy of the measurement or the adoption of technology. Foresighting has highlighted technological trends for metrology based on our vision for healthcare:

  • Continuous data collection for health monitoring will benefit from advances in the quantification and processing of multimodal and multiscale data as well as improved wireless and sensor technology.
  • Internet linked, self-powered, self-calibrating wearable or implantable bioelectronic devices will require traceable and innovative measurement techniques.
  • Quantification and analysis of complex data sets will enable the understanding of influences on health and disease.

Discover more about The future of metrology

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