The Future Shock of Healthcare

By: Dr. Shady S. Shebak, MD
Vice President, AMHP

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As the future comes at us at lightning speed, hastened by the coronavirus pandemic, we are reminded of the words of Alvin Toffler. Alvin Toffler wrote several important books, one of which is Future Shock. In this seminal work, he bravely and accurately states, “The illiterate of the 21st Century are not those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”. This statement is ever so important in today’s socio-political landscape. Things have changed rapidly within society in the past 10 years, and medicine is no exception. And as stated above, coronavirus turned up the notch of change several fold.

We, as healthcare professionals, must be ready for major changes in our field, which will include more widespread use of telehealth, technology, digital footprints to predict patients’ health, and less brick and mortar operations. Other changes that may soon arrive may include more distance learning for all sectors of healthcare. This will happen, and it may make some nervous, but my advice is to prepare for the future, so that as it arrives, it will not surprise you. Embrace changes now, before being forced into changes in a few years.

What does this means for the Muslim community? It simply means that for Muslims who often want to be seen by Muslim providers, Muslim providers should be rapidly looking to integrate the technological shifts that are occurring to keep up with the demands of our given communities. While brick and mortar private practices are not disappearing, the future of medicine is telehealth and digital health management, and the sooner we embrace this change, the more comfortable we will be as providers and as a community, in the coming years.

Recommended Readings

Future Shock – Alvin Toffler
The Third Wave – Alvin Toffler

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