How Technology is Transforming Integrative Medicine


Healthcare is becoming increasingly personalized, predictive, and precise thanks to the convergence of genomics, AI, and digital health tools, according to Daniel Kraft, MD, physician-scientist and founder of IntelliMedicine.

"We're moving from a world of reactive to proactive medicine, where the future is not about waiting for disease to happen but preventing it in the first place,” he said at the Integrative Healthcare Symposium in New York City.

During his plenary presentation, Dr. Kraft discussed the potential of artificial intelligence (AI), wearable devices, genomics, digital health platforms, 3D printing, and virtual reality to transform how medicine is practiced. These technologies, he said, have the power to provide earlier detection of disease, personalize treatment protocols, decrease time spent on administrative tasks, and improve access to healthcare.

"We need to take exponential steps, not incremental ones, in healthcare innovation,” Dr. Kraft explained. “The future is already here; it's just not evenly distributed."

While it's important to consider the risks of these technologies, Dr. Kraft encouraged integrative practitioners to embrace them. "AI and machine learning are already surpassing most clinicians in diagnostic accuracy and will become indispensable tools in our medical toolkit,” Dr. Kraft said. “Those who do not leverage AI in their practice may find themselves behind the curve."

Dr. Kraft reviewed the role of many different technological advancements in improving healthcare, several of which are already being used in clinical practice today, including:

Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM): Dr. Kraft discussed the evolution of RPM technologies, including sensors that can be worn or even integrated into clothing like underwear. These technologies enable continuous monitoring of various health metrics, potentially transforming patient care outside traditional healthcare settings. "The future of medicine is not just about what's happening in the lab or the hospital; it's about integrating health into our daily lives through wearable technologies and digital health platforms,” he said.

AI and Machine Learning in Diagnostics: He highlighted how AI can improve the detection of tumors and cancers, outperforming human capabilities in some instances. He also mentioned AI's role in enhancing colonoscopy procedures by identifying lesions that might be missed otherwise. "Data is the new oil in healthcare, and with AI, we can refine it into actionable insights that can save lives,” he said.

Genomics and Personalized Medicine: According to Dr. Kraft, in the near future, sequencing will become so affordable and quick that it could be integrated into standard care, allowing for highly personalized treatments accessible to the general public.

Extended Reality (XR) in Medical Training: He mentioned the use of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) for medical training and patient care, including applications like acupuncture training and surgical simulations, a key area of technological advancement.

3D Printing for Customized Medical Devices and Medications: He explained the capability of 3D print personalized medical devices, such as braces and prosthetics, which can be tailored to the bodies of individual patients. In addition, he explored the possibility of 3D printing medications with personalized doses based on real-time health metrics.  

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) to Support Healing and Health Education: Dr. Kraft discussed how VR and AR could provide immersive experiences that support healing and learning for medical training, patient education, and therapy.

Dr. Kraft concluded his presentation by reminding the audience that no technology alone will improve healthcare. Instead, medicine will be transformed by multiple combined technologies under the guidance of medical professionals.

"The future of integrated health isn't just finding computing and genomics and the Internet of Things,” said Dr. Kraft. “It’s how they come together to solve the pain points you have in clinical practices today.”