March 12, 2010
Revolutionary improvements in medical care are coming. Some of them are being driven by the explosion in biological sciences such as genomics, stem cells, immunology, molecular biology and biotechnology. Others arise from rapid advances in biomedical engineering and computational science including imaging, the electronic medical record, medical devices and diagnostic techniques and new approaches in the operating room. Combined, these medical megatrends are leading to huge shifts in how doctors will be able to treat illnesses. The century-old model of “diagnose and treat” will become “predict and prevent.” Medical care will be custom-tailored to individual needs. Repairing, restoring or replacing organs will dramatically advance. Personal medical information will be instantly anytime, anyplace. The entire practice of medicine will be much safer. There are also strong forces such as an aging population and adverse personal behaviors such as obesity, smoking, lack of exercise and stress leading to ever more complex, chronic illnesses. These patients and their diseases need a multidisciplinary, team-based approach to care, an approach not often available today. Professional shortages and consumer expectations will also each drive changes in how medicine is delivered in the future. These changes, many very disruptive, are coming no matter what happens with “healthcare reform” in Washington, DC.
Stephen C Schimpff, MD is retired CEO of the University of Maryland Medical Center, a 700 bed tertiary care center which includes the nation’s preeminent trauma center, an NCI designated cancer center and one of the country’s largest kidney transplant centers. He is board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology and infectious diseases. Early in his career he did extensive research into the causes, prevention and treatment of infections in cancer patients and cared for patients with leukemia and lymphoma. He was at the National Cancer Institute for 13 years followed by the University of Maryland where he is a professor in the schools of medicine and public policy. He was head of infectious diseases, director of the cancer center, chief operating officer of the University of Maryland Medical System and then CEO of the Medical Center. Dr. Schimpff was chair of the Board of Governors of the National Institutes of Health’s Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center from January 1999 until 2003; he was a board member since its inception in 1996. Since quasi-retirement he has authored “The Future of Medicine – Megatrends in Healthcare.” It focuses on the dramatic changes developing in medical practice as a result of basic science advances such as genomics, stem cells and immunology and those of engineering and computer science such as imaging, medical devices, the operating room and the electronic medical record. He is working on a sequel book which focuses on the megatrends impacting on the delivery of healthcare, among them - the aging population, our adverse lifestyle behaviors, both leading to more complex chronic illnesses, the changing professional expectations of providers, the changing expectations of consumers, and the rising costs of care. Dr Schimpff is a board member of two medical technology companies, CytoPulse Sciences, Inc and Salar Inc. and is on the scientific advisory board of a third, Akonni, Inc – each based in Maryland. He and his wife both volunteer at the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Canaan Valley, West Virginia.