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Koen Kas at “Stronger by Nature”: Three ways how healthcare is transforming

At the Nutrisan event “Stronger By Nature” health futurologist Koen Kas showed how healthcare will change in the next couple of decades. “Technological advancements like sensors, the internet-of-things and genetic research are paving the way towards a healthier life.” 

Health futurologist Koen Kas talking about the future of healthcare at the “Stronger by Nature” event organized by Nutrisan.

From one-size-fits-all to personalized healthcare

Thanks to smartphones and cheap sensors, more and more of our everyday life can be tracked and analysed. All these sensors generate a large amount of data that can help to develop personalized healthcare. Rather than building one-size-fits-all solutions, companies can use sensors and other hardware to track someone’s health. This data becomes even more valuable when paired with artificial intelligence, computer software that can detect patterns in large datasets.

Google’s AI lab Deepmind has proven to be successful at tracking 64 eye diseases from 3D scans of the eyes. Or what about a patch on the arm that detects dehydration of elderly who often forget to drink regularly and gives an alert on the TV. Or the Mexican company Eva that is developing a bra to detect breast cancer by recognizing heat changes.

On top of that, many companies are venturing into genetics to not only tailor their services according to lifestyle and our environment, but to also use genetic information. “It will become ethically unacceptable to not know your genomes and make use of all the advantages it brings”, as Koen Kas said at “Stronger by Nature”.

Healthcare futurologist Koen Kas: “A fedex package is better tracked than a patient. Health practitioners and pharmacists can evolve to health coaches thanks to personal patient data.”

From sickcare to healthcare

We usually only end up at the doctor’s office when something is wrong. But this does not have to be the case. In China for example there exists this ancient old tradition of health practitioners only getting paid as long as people remain healthy. It focuses on preventing illnesses rather than curing them.

Thanks to mass data collection, it will become much easier to prevent diseases rather than just cure them. But at the moment the healthcare system is not built that way. “A fedex package is better tracked than a patient. We provide only remedies, because our healthcare system does not allow to work proactively as a health practitioner or pharmacist and yet that’s the future”, said Koen Kas. “health service should be health coaching and guide people to avoid falling ill.”

However it is important that these apps to track your health are held to a high standard. On digitalhealth.be you can find a database of  all 150 FDA/CE certified health apps. “These apps allow the health practitioner to support his or her patients digitally within the comfort of their own home.”

More and more people are looking for preventive healthcare. Above shows the demand per area of food supplements. Numbers for most categories are expected to rise.

Follow your gut

 A new wave of scientific evidence has pulled the attention back to basics: how does what we eat affect how we feel? Recently the pharmaceutical company Johnson and Johnson invested in Cara Care, a startup tracking people’s food intake and digestive symptoms to offer advice.  Another company called DNAfit tries to build nutritional and fitness advice based on a person’s DNA.

Advancements in research has shown how our genetics, lifestyle and environment determine our food habits. One research showed how eating at the wrong time could affect body weight, so not only what and how we eat, but also when can be an important factor to decrease obesity.

More and more people are also looking for ways to proactively manage their health. Combined with dietary advice and supplements, these scientific insights can offer a way to support this more proactive lifestyle.