We’re going to provide you with an example of something you may experience in the not-too-distant future. Join us as we step into a new age of trucker health.
The Future is Now
John is a trucker who has been on the road for some time. It’s time to rest. Has he shuts down his vehicle and sings out of his e-log, a soothing voice suddenly emanates from speakers within the cab.
“John,” a calm female voice says, “your body temperature is 100.2 degrees. Blood pressure has dropped a bit in the last 30 minutes and you are experiencing elevated breathing levels. You may want to consult a doctor.”
John, sensing something may have been amiss, removes himself from the ergonomic driver’s seat that contours to his body throughout the day to help reduce joint and back pain and climbs into the back of the cab where his bunk awaits.
He taps a wall panel above his sleeper bunk and immediately a video screen appears. “Please call the doctor,” John says.
Instantly, an onboard computer dials up a virtual physician – after all, it is 2:00am – built into an interactive website designed to help truck drivers deal with specific health problems when a human doctor is unavailable.
John describes his symptoms to the virtual doctor and answers a few follow-up questions by tapping the same video panel. John’s entire medical history is made available to the virtual physician, as well as the biometric data provided by John’s advanced driver’s seat.
John presses his palm to the screen and opens his mouth so that the built-in camera can get a view of his throat. In a short few minutes the “doctor” comes back with a full analysis of John’s condition.
“Hi, John,” the virtual physician says. “Although we are unable to obtain a throat culture, I can see you have a few white, ulcerated patches at the back of your throat. This indicates that you may have a case of strep throat. An antibiotic prescription will be transmitted to you. I recommend you see Dr. Smith at your earliest convenience.”
Within seconds of the call ending, a text arrives to John’s phone with a pass code in it. A wheeled drone then pulls up outside his truck with an antibiotic prescription filled at the truck stop. He taps the screen to authorize payment and receives his medication.
It’s Not Science Fiction
Even five years ago, this story would have seemed like science fiction. And yet today, even those who are tech-skeptical would agree that this is something conceivable in today’s, and tomorrow’s, environment.
In an age of big data, drones and advances medical technology, it’s only a matter of time before these types of advanced diagnostics bring capabilities like these to the forefront.
These changes will be so profound that they will alter the way not only people access medical information and address their health. But they will be particularly effective in the trucking industry, where truck drivers have historically had little access to advanced healthcare options, simply because of the type of job they work.
Still, don’t automatically assume that machines will override human judgement. The adoption of these technologies will follow a similar curve as other advanced technologies, safety and ELD tech as just a couple examples.
As these types of systems become increasingly commonplace in the cab, truck drivers’ health and wellness should increase dramatically. These types of advancements can only mean good things for the people they impact, all the way down the line. How long until we see them commonplace is something only time can tell.