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Rheumatology in 2049: the age of all data
  1. Johanna Mucke,
  2. Philipp Sewerin,
  3. Matthias Schneider
  1. Policlinic and Hiller Research Unit for Rheumatology, Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf, Duesseldorf, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Johanna Mucke, Policlinic and Hiller Research Center for Rheumatology, Heinrich-Heine-Universitat Dusseldorf, Dusseldorf 40225, Germany; johanna.mucke{at}

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If you think about the unthinkable long enough it becomes quite reasonable.

Josephine Tey (1896–1952)British author

Have you ever thought about what our life as specialists for rheumatic diseases will look like in 2049? The amount of data gathered from us and our patients is increasing exponentially, and eventually, these data will be used to improve and facilitate patient’s care. We, that means primarily rheumatologists and—as the responsibilities will also change with all data—all other health professionals involved in the care of patients with rheumatic diseases, should know what to expect and actively contribute to this process.

Working routine in 2049

It is 10:00 on a sunny 21 July in 2049 and you are currently at your most favourite place in the world: a small cottage in the mountains, a vineyard in France or your house with a breath-taking view of the sea. You just finished your morning round on your virtual ward and a glimpse at your computer shows that 99% of the 50 000 customers in your virtual practice do not have any complaints and are enjoying their life without health-related limitations. In fact, most of them have never even had any symptoms as they were diagnosed before disease manifestation and preventive measures have successfully been applied. Like every morning, the system reports a few patients that deviate from their normal status. In some patients, the system has already adapted or changed therapy or has given behavioural advice. Most patients do not need any further adjustments. The system has identified two customers who need personal assessment in your virtual clinic, and therefore, an appointment has already been made. Other patients are still on your agenda for the virtual expert meeting this afternoon, as they do not fit into the known disease entities or treatment standards. Your avatar will present these complex cases to the other …

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  • Handling editor Josef S Smolen

  • Contributors JM, PS and MS contributed equally to the conception, drafting and writing of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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