The Future of Healthcare, by David Hunt
It’s estimated that around 6,000 students are beginning their final year of Medicine at UK universities. The majority will be 23 years old, born in 1992. ‘Googling’ has been mainstream since they were 10. Facebook became a thing when they were 12. Phones became smart when they were just 15. They haven’t lived through a digital revolution (they missed that). They’ve simply lived in a digital world.
I know, I know, we all know healthcare professionals. I’ve been advertising to them for 15 years, some of my colleagues have played golf with them for even longer, and our research is infinite. But what about tomorrow’s generation? Those who will choose kindle over paperbacks, being social online to offline, who learn to wire a plug on YouTube?
What about those who will think nothing about sharing their every experience? Of course, much will be a personal commentary, a social diary or an analysis of current affairs. But, it will also articulate their clinical experience and opinions; it will outline their decisions, and help shape their community’s conclusion.
It’s entirely unnecessary to document their use of digital and perhaps more controversially, I’m also unmoved by their apps of choice or their preferred platform (they’ll change). My interest is sparked by their behaviour, their attitudes, and their motivations. When the whole world has always been at your fingertips, how does this alter your perspective? When your limits are not defined by geography, the classroom, or your personal experience; what defines your ambition? When you have studied Medicine in today’s technology-enabled world, what do you do next?
Like every generation before them, I hope they will be beset on changing the world. Uniquely, they may just have the experience, education and tools to do just that. I question whether they will accept operating within the archaic environments prevalent in healthcare today? ‘Generation Now’ has not been programmed to be patient.