Everything about the modern doctor\u2019s office feels primitive. It\u2019s one of the few businesses that requires I use my telephone for scheduling \u2014\u00a0unless it\u2019s about lab results. For that, they prefer fax. Even the doctor\u2019s tools, such as the blood pressure cuff, scale and stethoscope, are largely the same as the equipment used in my childhood.\nI get that the industry needs to be cautious regarding change and that legal requirements further complicate matters, but changes are overdue. Because medical professionals are unlikely to adopt unproven tech, the evolution will most likely come from existing tech being used in other applications.\nLet\u2019s take a look at how things might change in healthcare technology:\nVideo technologies in healthcare\nThe cost of video has significantly dropped, and the availability of video equipment (webcams and mobile phones) has significantly increased. Telemedicine is in, and doctors are now seeing patients for consults and treatments. Doctors are also using telemedicine technologies for expert consults with other doctors.\nTelemedicine will soon expand from offices and homes to the field. Ambulances and paramedics will use two-way video for emergencies. Some facilities now are geared specifically for telemedicine, such as Mercy\u2019s Virtual Care Center, which serves and monitors remote patients.\nTemasys offers a teleconference technology that provides secure conversation among a pharmacist, patient and caregiver. In addition to encrypted live video and voice chat, Temasys records the conversations for retrieval via its patient portal.\nDrones\nDrones are already being equipped to deliver packages, and they offer significant benefits for rural environments. California-based Zipline has been drone-delivering blood for transfusions in Rwanda and is expanding into Tanzania. New drones are being developed to transport blood and medicines even across deserts, and a drone-ambulance is in the works.\nTelemedicine and drones will converge to create a solution that provides real-time information during rapidly changing events or situations.\nEran Westman, CEO of Vidyo, said the technology \u201cis already being used today by a national fire brigade. We are also working closely with police, EMTs, emergency responders and internal communications agencies to help them enhance their current videoconferencing capabilities with live images from drones.\u201d\nMobile wearables\nThe boom in consumer fitness wearables is already bleeding over into the medical industry. I\u2019ve shared my logs with my doctor, and there\u2019s really no reason to limit the collection of medical information to in-office visits. The medical industry is moving in with personal, at-home and wearable devices that adhere to stricter security and privacy policies. Some of these newer devices transmit data continuously.\nMarket Research.com forecasts that Internet of Things (IoT) devices and wearables in healthcare could hit $117 billion by 2020. Another approach is to create peripherals that extend the capabilities of smartphones. Testing blood sugar and urine at home has never been easier. There are even smartphone accessories for an at-home echocardiogram.\nArtificial intelligence\nDo you remember Doctor on Star Trek Voyager? He, or it, was an Emergency Medical Hologram (EMH) that was installed in the ship\u2019s sickbay. Upon activation, he would say, "Please state the nature of the medical emergency." Well, that\u2019s still in the future, but we are getting closer. Today we have a host of AI-powered, virtual doctors such as Ada.\nThis is very complex stuff, as AI has not been mastered yet. For example, IBM\u2019s efforts to use Watson to improve cancer treatments have not been as revolutionary as many expected.\nHowever, AI is proving to be helpful in some unexpected ways. GE Healthcare and Johns Hopkins Hospital are using predictive analytics to reduce bottlenecks and improve patient flow.\nAI will also be increasingly used in all of these other categories, especially robots.\nRobots\nRobots are practically de rigeur in complex surgical procedures, and they will inevitably play a major role in our healthcare, including exams and therapy. The market is already there for senior care. Many Japanese firms are developing Carebots that assist the elderly in a variety of home-based services, such as monitoring medicine consumption and mobility. The Robobear bot can assist seniors in transferring from a bed to a wheelchair.\nWith significant advances in robot interactions, they can provide people company and even teach exercise classes.\nI think about all of the time I sit in front of a computer monitor, and I get excited about a future where technology will be used to improve my health. IoT has the potential to personalize our treatment and transition healthcare into a proactive industry. Someday \u2014\u00a0though not tomorrow \u2014\u00a0the doctor will be the one calling to make an appointment regarding real-time results.