Career Advice

IR4.0: The Future of Jobs and How Healthcare Students Should Prepare for It

Published by on Aug 27, 2020, 10:33 am

In our previous article, we talked about the fourth industrial revolution and how advanced technology will impact the AEC industry.

We also uncovered how AEC students today can prepare for the working world tomorrow.

Today, we’ll continue to touch on IR4.0 and what it could mean for the healthcare industry, alongside what healthcare students can do to prepare for it!


The future for Healthcare Industry

In IR4.0, medicine will thrive tremendously like we’ve never seen before! Advanced technology in medicine means mind-blowing innovations such as real-life cyborgs, digital tattoos, and of course 3D bioprinting.


While we are far from achieving Terminator-like cyborgs, the blending of humans and robots can help physical limitations such as loss of limbs by restoring functionality to people like Nigel Ackland and Jerry Jalava. Cyborg technology is also used to “enhance” typical abilities (Neil Harbisson, for instance, can “hear” colours thanks to an electronic antenna mounted to the lower back of his skull that turns frequencies of light into vibrations his brain interprets as sound).

Pretty ground-breaking, right?

Digital tattoos

Aside from cyborgs, digital tattoos are also an emerging healthcare trend. Digital tattoos (or e-tattoos, whichever you prefer) are the adults’ version of temporary tattoos. The tattoo is applied on damp skin and can stick for days or when you rub them off. What makes digital tattoos great is that they can monitor heartrate, hydration levels, blood pressure and blood sugar levels – all vital to good health!

MC10 BioStamp (Image taken from The Medical Futurist)

Not convinced? Well digital tattoos already exist today, case in point: MC10 BioStamp. Using stretchable metallic interconnects and rubbery polymers, this digital tattoo (developed by the Cambridge) can monitor movement, muscle performance or heart activity of the person who wears it. It even has a Bluetooth radio and a miniature battery.

All in all, digital tattoos could minimize the ways in which essential medical devices interfere with a patient’s life. Not only it is aesthetically pleasing, they can provide accurate health reports due to direct skin contact thus proving its seamless function for patients.

3D bioprinting

3D printing once again is a revolutionary technology that will leave a huge impact on the future of medicine through bioprinting.

No longer do patients need to wait for an organ donor. Now, 3D printing technology means we can print replacement organs using the patient’s own cells thus decreasing the cases of organ rejection. How they create these artificial organs is by using a bio-mimetic organ fabricated from a 3D bioprinter. 3D bioprinting can also reduce animal testing since researchers believe it can shape reproducible human tissue models.

Electronic Health Records (EHR) and blockchain technology

Other technology trends in healthcare includes Electronic Health Records (EHR), where the patients details are all kept digitally with the help of EHR software, making it much easier for medical professionals to have instant access to patient data.

Blockchain in healthcare (Image taken from Asiaclockchainreview)

There’s also blockchain technology, a permanent record of online transactions or exchanges.  Blockchain in healthcare allows a transparent information transfer between medical professionals and patient by using a public-private key. This public-private key is completely under the patient’s control, giving them the freedom to decide who is going to have access to their record. In this case, if a specialist is needed for a consultation, a patient can grant access via a system that all parties are using. This technology is most efficient when a patient is traveling to another country – in case health intervention is needed urgently, doctors can access medical records fast.


What Future Healthcare Professionals Need to Learn Now

For students, its best to prepare by equipping themselves with necessary knowledge of the technology.

Doctors in IR4.0 (Image taken from Axios)

You might not see the big picture of healthcare industry in IR4.0 just yet. So why not join the University of Sydney’s online course, “eHealth: More Than Just an Electronic Record”? This course is a comprehensive introduction to how digital technology – especially apps, data and communication technology – is being used to support health and healthcare management today. This course takes approximately 11 hours to complete, although students can choose a more flexible schedule.

Alternatively, you can also enrol in Rice University’s Medicine in the Digital Age course on Edx. In a span of merely 4 weeks, you can learn how to identify the core areas of growth and disruption in digital health, distinguish between hype and real opportunity in digital health, identify major challenges facing doctors and patients as medicine transitions from analogue to digital as well as recognizing the emerging role of the e-patient in health care.

These two courses can act as strong foundations for future healthcare professionals who wish to thrive in the global technological world.

BUT! You can also choose to specialize specifically in AI for Medicine, where students will be taught practical experience in applying machine learning to concrete problems in medicine. Students can learn the nuances of working with 2D and 3D medical image data, apply tree-based models to improve patient survival estimates, use data from randomized trials to recommend treatments more suited to individual patients, and explore how natural language extraction can more efficiently label medical datasets.


The future healthcare professional is a vessel of knowledge,

And this encompasses both knowledge of the healthcare field and technological trends. In order to guarantee a successful healthcare career for tomorrow, why not equip yourselves today with the necessary skills and knowledge?

More articles on IR4.0:

IR4.0: The Future of Jobs and How AEC Students Should Prepare for It

Alibaba Cloud and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR)’s Partnership to Transform Cloud Computing Education

Ministry of Higher Education’s IR4.0 Action Plan

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