2030 Health Predictions: The Morality of Technology

February 13, 2020
Sloan Gaon

This blog post is the first in a series discussing PulsePoint CEO Sloan Gaon’s predictions for the future of healthcare. These blogs accompany a series of short videos in which Sloan gives you his insights into where health is headed by 2030. You can browse the full video library here

As technology continues to advance, the change in the amount of impact felt by each new development becomes more and more drastic. Already, we possess health technology that was once reserved for science-fiction—artificial intelligence, DNA testing, 3D-printed organs. The future is approaching faster than ever for the world of Health, and the possibilities for health outcomes beneficial to all of humankind are at our fingertips. 

But not all progress is purposed positively. With each new medical trend and every advancement to health technology, there should be a wary pause that begs the necessary questions for these steps forward. Who is this helping and how? What are the costs, both economically and ethically?

This is the morality of technology. There is much to be hopeful for in Health, but to reach the optimal future, we have a lot to work on in the present. As we begin this decade-long journey toward 2030, we must acknowledge and repair the gaps in the current system if we want to expand and improve it.

What will the morality around the future of health technology look like?

2020 digital health forum

Innovations in health technology will bring and have already brought incredible benefits to the world’s population. We can do things like freeze a woman’s eggs, produce entire images of the body in a second, and discover detailed results about the states of our bodies through DNA testing. We’ve made substantial progress into a healthier world through the advancement of health technology. 

So, why not go further?

Why not freeze an entire, living human? Why not develop those scanners to see even deeper? Why not create a global map of humanity’s genetic makeup to keep tabs on the health of the world?

This is where it’s important to remember that just because we can do something does not mean that we necessarily should. We must remember to ask ourselves where we draw the line in the ethical sand. When medical innovation crosses the line of ethical violation and sloppy protocol, it’s time to reflect and reevaluate our plans.

The problem with progress and innovation is that, with them—like with medication—there is the chance for negative side effects. So much of what we have already built has its flaws that we are still hesitant on correcting. 

For example, we struggle to strike a balance in our diet when so much of our food contains added sugar that negatively impacts our children’s development and leads to a myriad of health risks. An addictive substance, sugar has evaded the eyes of the FDA who already regulates similarly-addictive substances like nicotine and alcohol. 

This isn’t to say that the rising medical trends won’t bring with them great impacts on the living of a human being by 2030—there will be plenty of positive results. Body scanners, for example, could strongly improve diagnostics, track disease progression and assist with drug therapy research, predict conditions, and aid preventative healthcare. 

But with every step forward, we must remember not to leave our fellows behind. Take DNA testing and its interaction with life insurance. There could be huge price spikes and insurance premiums with more visible health information, and many people won’t want testing for fear of their own privacy and these soaring costs. The murky implications of what DNA tests reveal about our individual health could make insurers picky—and make long-term care, life insurance and disability insurance infeasible for many people.

We must pause and reflect on the steps we continue to take if we want to reach the best health outcomes for everyone, while also maintaining the right manner of privacy and feasibility for all. We must consider the morality of our technology if we want 2030 to fulfill the optimist’s outlook on the future of health.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for the second blog of this series which will cover emerging technologies in the Health space. What are your predictions for the future of Health? What are the healthcare marketing trends you expect to emerge? What medical trends will help us all live healthier lives? Share your predictions by using #2030HealthPredictions. Stay up to date on all of the latest insights into the world of health tech by subscribing to our newsletter here.

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