Medical science is advancing at an unprecedented rate, and while this has tremendous benefits for the population, it also means that medical statistics of 2021 are pretty much anyone’s guess.
Why do doctors use medical statistics?
Medical statistics are used in medicine to help doctors make the most informed decisions about what treatment is best for each patient. It might seem like basic common sense to do this, but when you consider how high the stakes are, it’s easy to see why medical statistics are so important.
Advances in medical science mean advances in medical technology. For example, before 1980, many people thought that chemotherapy was barbaric and wouldn’t work. Now they’re one of the most successful cancer treatments around. The powers of modern medicine, combined with advances in medical science, mean that what was considered experimental in 1980 is now commonplace. Of course, the downside to all of this is that doctors don’t always use the most up-to-date knowledge when they decide how to treat each patient.
Medical advances that will happen in the next decade:
Nanotechnology is the use of extremely small robots called nanobots to perform tasks such as improving medical treatment. The US government has invested $19 billion into nanotechnology, and over $100 million more will be invested in 2013 alone. Unfortunately, this technology is still very new and may not be ready for commercial use for decades.
- The average life expectancy in the UK has risen almost 5% since the year 2000
This is the result of falling rates of smoking, increased vaccine coverage, increased breast cancer screening among other factors.
- Despite incredible advances in medical technology, there are still many areas that need improvement.
For example, even though infant mortality has fallen by 62% since 1960, it only fell by 9% between 2005 and 2010. Child mortality is decreasing at a rate just under 2%, which is much lower than the 10% annual goal set by the World Health Organization. Also, cancer deaths are on the rise among people aged 50 to 74, and for every ten physicians in China, there is only one hospital bed.
There’s no doubt that medical technology will make huge strides in the future. For example:
- The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will approve lab-grown lungs within the next decade
- Drugs for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s will be developed within the next decade.
- Immunotherapy will be increasingly successful
Immunotherapy is the use of the immune system to fight cancer. Currently, it’s used in less than 5% of cancer cases, but is expected to rise to around 30% in the next decade.
- Medical costs are rising 6% per annum in the US
Rising supply costs, rising demand for healthcare and increasing treatments are all contributing to medical inflation in the US. These costs are rapidly rising faster than any other category in the economy, including food and housing.
- The US could save $266 billion a year in healthcare costs by halving administrative expenses
A study commissioned by the University of California Office of the President estimated that this would cut down on unnecessary hospital visits, lower drug costs and help ensure that people have access to high-quality care throughout the country.
- The rate of diabetes among dogs has increased significantly in the past 20 years
This increase is because dogs are increasingly becoming overweight. Other factors include diet and lack of exercise.
- The number of people taking antidepressants is rising dramatically in many countries
In 2011, around 10% of American adults were taking an antidepressant at any given time. The US and UK governments have both recently released studies that indicate that these drugs can be used in moderation and do not significantly affect people’s mental health.
- There are 2.6 doctors per 1,000 patients in the United States
This figure is lower than the global average, which is 3.5 doctors for every 1,000 patients per year. There are also significant gaps in access across the US with up to 9 million Americans lacking access to any kind of healthcare at all.
- Hospitals now use more than 11 million patient records each year
These numbers are now so large that they require servers to store them. This data expansion is another barrier to improving medical technology with computer systems regularly crashing due to data overload.