Monday, January 7, 2013

Seeing into the Future

By Lydia Kang

Hey guys!

Working in medicine, I'm surrounded by medical advancements that would make my grandparents drop their jaws in amazement. Reversing heart attacks and strokes? Replacing non-working joints and organs? Pretty cool stuff, not to mention life saving.

But one thing I had to do when writing CONTROL, my YA novel set in 2150, was decide what medical advancements occurred.

What fun!

So without being too spoileriffic, I'll talk about a few things I made up for the setting of CONTROL. There is a scene in the hospital, and lots of action (meaning, people get hurt and need medical care afterwards). First, I started with what's wrong with medical care today. From there, I imagined what futuristic medical care would be like.

1. The physical exam.
I know, I know. I'll get yelled at this from my colleagues and my teachers, but the physical exam can be notoriously inaccurate. People are better and worse than others at listening to heart rhythms with a stethoscope, for example. So there's something called a cardioscope--a handheld, oval device that does all the thinking for you. Kind of like an echocardiogram (a heart ultrasound) plus a EKG/holter monitor (rhythm analysis) and cardiac catheterization (heart vessel analysis) but in a handy pocket device. It's only in one scene, but it's a pivotal object.

2. Doctors
Again! I'm kind of killing my own day job here, but there could conceivably be a future where doctors are replaced by computer programs skilled and nuanced enough to take the place of a complicated, human doctor's brain. These are called CompuDocs in CONTROL, but alas. They are WAY expensive, so the human doctor is still in demand, especially by the poor.

3. The medical record
Except at the Veterans Administration, the medical record is not really universal in the U.S. If you get your care in one place, another hospital won't have access to that first place unless requesting records. In the future, your bank records, social history, medical records, and prison records are all centralized and accessible with your finger-tip ID (a combination of your blood vessel pattern and fingerprint).

Okay, there are lots of other medical things that I changed for the future in CONTROL, but these are just a few. I kind of wish I could visit the future and see some of this stuff in person!

What do you wish was changed in the future?

*****



Lydia Kang is a writer, part-time doctor, and salt-addicted gal with a near-pathological need to doodle.  Her YA sci-fi book, CONTROL, is coming December 2013 (Dial/Penguin).

Find her on Twitter, her blog The Word Is My OysterGoodreads, Facebook, and Pinterest





23 comments:

  1. Love your innovations. What I would like to see, in the not too distant future, is a quick, complete cure for what I am battling now: a cold.

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  2. Awesome that you used your medical expertise in your book in creating new medical concepts. They sound really awesome and can't wait to see how they tie into your story.

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  3. Cool post, Lydia. Makes me even more eager for CONTROL.

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  4. Love that you stepped out of the box with your medical knowledge. Just remind your medical colleagues it's fiction...lol

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  5. Oh man, I thought you had really seen into the future and you were gonna tell us all about it! jk I do love the cardioscope idea. I love how you took what you're trained in and used it to make a great story. Well, I hear it's a great story. I look forward to buying it at some point (this year)!

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  6. All good ideas!
    I took my son to the ER years ago and the doc joked that he thought he would one day be replaced by a computer that spit out prescriptions for Vicadin (sp?)to adults like we used to give lollipops to kids. It would probably be a money maker.

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  7. Very cool, Lydia! Congrats on Control!

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  8. I think you should work on developing that cardioscope thing and patent it! It totally makes sense. You will be a zillionaire and save many many lives. I can see the CompuDocs as perfect for your novel, but part of me ways "Noooo." Imperfect as people are, including doctors, we need them!!! (Does that work right into your plot development? Hope so.)

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  9. I like your imaginative advancements! Very cool!

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  10. That last one is probably the most accurate prediction - and the scariest.

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  11. I love this! So fascinating! DANGIT. Why does your book still have to be so far away?

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  12. Sounds fascinating. Although I truly hope the future still involves human doctors. :-)

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  13. How fascinating! I always wondered how accurate my physical exams were. :) Can't wait to read this book!

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  14. I love imagining what advances the future will bring. I think those ideas sound spot on for the future.

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  15. Super inventions, Lydia. Waiting to read your book CONTROL.

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  16. I would love a "rest pod" in the future. You get in when you're sick and it speeds up time. This way, you are in the pod for ten minutes but your body thinks you've rested ten hours! Get to work on that, Lydia. HA!

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  17. Having a doc have instant access to your all your medical records in an emergency would be great.

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  18. Very cool!
    And eep! I didn't realize physical exams can be so inaccurate. I thought since it's so common, it's very accurate!

    I love Jenniferannmann's rest pod invention idea. Great idea!

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  19. Whoa...I really wish that Cardioscope was real. That would be so handy! Lol

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  20. Interesting to think about what things would be like. Thanks for making me think and giving us a peek at your book! :)

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  21. Yes, when I was young, we moved a lot so your talk on the medical records make sense, Dr. It was like having to do the same thing over and over again for them .

    Change in the future? Oh mode of travel for sure. Out with long car and plane rides, and in with teleportation. Bam and I am in Hawaii.

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