The great inversion of medicine, with its roots just starting to take hold now, will have been fully achieved over the next few decades.
Instead of pervasive medical paternalism that dates back centuries, each individual will have much more than access to their medical data—they will be generating and owning it.
The smartphone, which engendered a revolutionary change in how we go about our lives, will ultimately replace (with some key hardware attachments) the stethoscope as the iconic symbol of medicine. It will be used to capture biosensor real-time, real-world physiologic data from any specific organ or system of the body, to run routine labs and sequence potential pathogens, to perform medical-grade scans of one's body, to track environmental exposures and food ingredients, to do most of the physical exam, and to connect with a doctor or healthcare professional at any moment in time.
But this pocket device capability will be much bigger than just amassing multidimensional data. No human being could assimilate the continuous flow of multiscale, torrential data, which, in contrast, is perfect for machines to process using artificial intelligence and deep learning from and for each individual. The output will be like that of supercomputer IBM Watson, only to the 4th power, with algorithmic recommendations yielding the exciting potential to pre-empt many acute medical conditions—like asthma attacks, heart attacks, seizures, arrhythmias and heart failure.
Such external wisdom of body guidance will be constantly fed back to the person using their choice of voice, text or avatar communication. Just as most people have so quickly and heavily come to rely on their smartphones today for the purveyor of all-important information, health and medicine will have been fully integrated.