Dr. Deb reviews the top 5 medical innovations for 2022. Some will make our lives easier, while some offer great opportunities for Functional/Integrative medical providers.
Do not miss these highlights:
02:47 - One thing that was highlighted during the pandemic is the limitations to patient access to affordable Health Care
03:21 - Telemedicine will be a big part of how we deliver medicine in the future
05:26 - SkinVision - Skin check apps that provide a reliable skin assessment for the early detection of skin cancer
06:05 - What Artificial Intelligence can do in a variety of medical fields
07:12 - They're starting to look at using Chatbots for Health Care as the FIRST connection to a Healthcare System
10:10 - Many lab companies have started offering home testing in a variety of ways
12:11 - The Galleri Test is a test that looks at multiple types of cancers and a cancer early detection
12:28 - Insightech was developed as a focused ultrasound device for an image-guided acoustic surgery
15:07 - With AI Technology, the Insurance Companies are going to have access to a whole host of medical information about the patient that they've never had before
Transcription of Episode #10:
You're listening to the Functional Medicine Business Podcast featuring Dr. Deb, one of the most creative functional medicine business practitioners in her industry. She shares the wisdom and knowledge that she has gained over 25 years of functional medicine, a pioneer in functional medicine, scheduling, leadership and Practice Management. Dr. dabit has a wealth of knowledge and is eager to share to help functional medicine become more productive, and for the practitioners and patients to live better lives. Our podcast shares the good and the bad of our industry. Because Dr. Deb knows the pain you live every day building a functional medicine practice with practical tools of how to manage money, taxes and patient care, she will discuss it all with you.
We're saying goodbye to 2021 the pandemic only accelerated some already established trends in digital health. And in 2022, I expect to see even more emphasis on AI solutions, remote care and home test. As the point of care keeps shifting to wherever the patient is. That has brought us an opportunity in medicine to work differently than we have in a very long time. I'm Dr. Deb, the host a functional medicine business podcast. Let's dive into specifically what we can look forward to in the next year.
Vocal biomarkers, what's more futuristic than ending a conversation within AI. In return, they can tell a lot about the state of your mental health. And even if you've got COVID or not for an example. Now, voice tech startups are blooming, leveraging machine learning to detect vocal biomarkers that are red flags and for certain conditions by characteristics in your voice. These algorithms can be accurate, fast and cost effective solutions compared to the average checkout processes, which could essentially be the difference between life and death for some people. For example, a USB startup called Sanofi has a voice based app that looks for vocal features related to the presence of COVID-19. How does this actually work is still completely unknown. One thing that was highlighted during the pandemic is the limitations to patient access to affordable health care. It became very clear during this time that telemedicine could alleviate overburdened hospitals. In integrative medicine, many of us have been providing telemedicine to our patients for decades. We called it phone medicine back in the day. Thanks to the pandemic though it became more mainstream and acceptable. Insurance companies even decided to cover these visits for many people.
Telemedicine is here to stay and will be a big part of how we deliver medicine in the future. Are you ready to deliver telemedicine in a HIPAA compliant fashion? Is your office set up for telemedicine yet? And if not, my question to you is why are you not taking advantage of it? It is something that you should be taking advantage of right now to grow your practice. And if not now, make sure it's on your plan for 2022.
As more money is put in to the startups in the field of voice tech, an accurate diagnosis for some conditions can be as easy as a patient speaking into a smartphone, AI and diagnostics. Well, AI is everywhere. And since we're talking about AI diagnostics, I want to take a look at one example of how it will disrupt healthcare in the new near near future. Skin cancer is one of the most common cancer types. That is present. One in five people are expected to receive a skin cancer diagnosis during their lifetime. Early detection and treatment is invaluable since almost all skin cancers can be cured if caught early, if found and treated early, but sometimes skin checks are often put off for a variety of reasons we don't have time is not at the top of our list. And during the pandemic, dermatologists had realized that many people stopped coming to the doctor because it wasn't a necessary thing.
Some people already report that 21% of the melanomas might have gone undetected in 2022, because people haven't had their normal skin checks. Ultimately, this new technology could provide much more than an online visit could, it can actually do the job. Skin check apps are available now. And patients don't even need dedicated medical device. All they need is their smartphone. And we can easily check skin lesions through an app like skin vision. A study in Nature confirms on the data that this is a good diagnostic tool for selected lesions. It's not for all but very specific lesions can work really well with this skincare app called Skin Vision.
AI is good or even superior in some cases, to human experts in looking at images and diagnosing with AI. AI can do the same in a variety of medical fields. And if you were to look at a biopsy or radiology images, and flag suspicious ones for further review, by a trained professional AI can already detect those as well. But don't worry, we're all here to say AI can't replace us as physicians, or as healthcare practitioners, but physicians using AI will be able to provide better care for others in the future. So what's all the hype about with chatbots. Chatbots are all over the place. And my marketing people have been on me about using chatbots for a couple of years already, you know, the top app chat, but these are the little boxes that pop up on a site and they asked you if they can help you. That's a chatbot. There's no real person behind these little chat bots that come up. They're computer driven. And they're it's all AI technology based on the questions that we ask, and the responses that we give. This is all AI technology. And a lot of this information is gathered from your website for the chatbot to answer and deliver to people that are asking questions from your site. But more recently, they're starting to look at using chatbots for health care. And in traditional health care, this is going to be a way that they're going to deliver healthcare in the future. So when people have a question, they will use an algorithm that's powered by text and or voice, and they will interface with the patient. So these chat bots will be the first connection to a healthcare system, you'll no longer be talking to a nurse or a receptionist right out of the gate. Now there are countless cases where a digital personal assistant or chatbot could help physicians, nurses patients in their families, and to better organize the patient's pathways of medication management, helping emergency situations offering solutions for simpler medical issues. These are all possible things that the traditional medical system is looking for in a chatbot delivery system.
Technology for communication is also on the rise. How we deliver this technology is huge. Whether it's a chatbot, it's a text message, it's an email, all of our traditional communication has really dwindled down. Some people don't even want to talk to other people they'd rather just text or email, they won't even answer the answer a phone if you call if they don't recognize your number. So looking at these alternative delivery sources for communicating with patients is high on the delivery system for technology for 2022. These chat Bat Chat Bots can connect with patients and clinicians for diagnosis and treatment they can connect who should see whom. And there's a lot of futuristic information that's coming out of this talk text type situation. Now, here's what I would say. This is a great place for functional medicine to thrive. Some people are going to love this hands off communication style, but there are going to be a lot of people that are still going to want to have an old fashioned connection with their healthcare practitioner, they're still going to want to talk to someone, they're still going to want personalized care, they're still going to want individualized attention. And so if your functional medicine practice, can figure out how to deliver that in 2022 you will be far above the traditional health care system and what they're delivering and what they're doing.
Next is home testing. It's become very popular during the pandemic to access tests from home. Many lab companies have started offering home testing in a variety of ways. We already know there's pregnancy tests that people can do their strep throat testing, there's glucose monitoring from home. There are also a lot of functional tests that are available now. There's testing for food sensitivities, stool samples for the gut microbiome, genetic testing, and a whole host of things in between. All of these tests in functional medicine have been offered at home for a very long time. However, they've still needed a prescription or a recommendation from a provider, there are new tests that have come to the market that don't require an order from a health care practitioner for the patient to obtain this information. That comes with some positives and some negatives, the good thing is patient access to testing is much more available and much more readily accessible without a provider that may understand or may not understand functional medicine. There's a good and a bad piece of that. What I think in functional medicine is missing, though, is the interpretation of these tests. So yes, you can offer functional medicine tests, and the patients can order them themselves. But when they get 100 page document that goes over their genetic makeup, it doesn't tell them what they need to do to prevent or reverse that genetic damage. When they get their gut microbiome tests back, it doesn't tell them what they should do to treat the gut microbiome, to balance the good and the bad bacteria inside their gut. So this is where Functional Medicine and integrative medical practitioners can really thrive is offering these people a marketplace to work to interpret that data and help them create the treatment plan. Whether you do that from a telemedicine approach. Whether you do that from your brick and mortar practice, there is going to need to be some interpretation of those lab tests. And that is huge.
One of the tests that excites me the most over 2022 is something called the gallery test. Gallery test is a test that looks at multiple cancer early detection. And it detects methylation patterns of the cell free DNA that could indicate that there's a presence of cancer. And when a cancer signal is detected, this test predicts the origin of the cancer as well. So not only do we know there is a cancer present, but it tells us what part of the body that cancer is with great accuracy I should mention, it is very specific and very accurate. The gallery test should be used with guidelines recommended cancer screenings and recommended patient elevated cancer risk and people over the age of 50. So this is a screening mechanism that 50 and older people can do to determine if they have early or late stage cancer. And hopefully we're detecting early cancers not late stage cancers because the earlier we can detect cancer, the better we are going to be at treating it. This is an amazing test that's now available to people and predominantly being sought after for Functional Medicine and integrative practices.
I'm also watching a piece of equipment called that insight tech, it was developed and as a focused ultrasound device for an image guided acoustic surgery. These devices are meant to serve as an alternative to the typical surgery. It's got high intensity focused ultrasound, which generates enough heat to target and affect a tissue inside the body without making any incisions. This allows surgeons to use a computer station and a mouse instead of a scalpel. Some might think of this method as a med bed. But it's very different in that aspect. And the med bed is my next choice of excitement over 2022. I'm going to hold that thought for a completely different podcasts so you guys can really truly understand med bed. But I would encourage you to go seeking that information out because I think it's going to be an amazing piece of technology that we're going to be able to use in functional medicine going into the near future.
The next thing that is exciting for me too, is the DNA testing. So DNA sequencing testing has been around for about 10 years. Most people know it as 23andme genetic genome nutrition genome. Pure encapsulation has their own DNA testing as well. This DNA testing can be ordered directly by the patient or can be directly ordered by a practitioner. But again, it's 100 page document that comes and people are going to have a hard time interpreting this information. One of the The things that I've said for decades about DNA testing is be careful who has access to this information. And here we are with AI technology, the insurance companies are going to have access to a whole host of medical information about the patient that they've never had before, enter our Fitbit or our smartwatches that provide all kinds of data that we love to track. But that data can also get in the hands of the insurance companies, as can this AI technology that we've been talking about today. If the insurance companies obtain that information, it can be used in multiple ways it can be used to increase your rates, it can be used to eliminate certain treatment options that are available to you that will be paid for by the insurance company, but can also be used to lower rates. Now, I think all of us understand that the insurance companies basis is to make money if they don't make money, then they don't have an insurance company. So most of the time, this gathering of information is not going to be used to lower our rates, it's going to be used to increase our rates. And it's going to be used against us instead of for us. So I would highly encourage people listening to this, if patients are using this information, getting this these tests done, try to avoid them going into your traditional medical record so that the insurance company doesn't have access to them directly. So these are exciting technologies that are going to be available in 2022. And I'm sure there's going to be a lot more available in this next coming year.
But I want you to keep an eye on these and look at how you can integrate them into your medical practice. How can they help you? How can they make your life easier? How can you offer different tests in different modalities? And how can they help your patients as well. So hopefully, 2022 will be a better year than 2021 has and less crazy for all of us. But nonetheless, this is a great place to start with your medical practice. I'm wishing you and your family a great 2022. Thank you.
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