Remember those days when every time we had the flu or cold, we rushed to see our doctor? Well it looks like technology will be playing a more pervasive role in our lives. If the tech pundits are to be believed, we’re going to be more reliant on tech in the near future—from sensors that monitor our body functions to smart phones to Artificial Intelligence robots—to tell us whether we’re sick and how to maintain good health.
Apple, yes, the iPhone-iMac-iTunes-iEtc. company has devised HealthKit, a health digital platform and a device called AppleWatch. And they are not alone. Google, IBM, and many other startups have jumped on the bandwagon with the single-minded goal of crashing the health-care industry party and making health data more medically and financially accessible to the public. As Vivek Wadhwa points out in his astute article, “…medicine is becoming an information technology and (that) the trillion-dollar health-care market is ripe for disruption.”
Digital health devices are based on MEMS sensors. Created by companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung, they enable the measurement of heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, and activity levels. They can also feed data into cloud-based platforms such as HealthKit and will be packaged in watches, Band-Aids, clothing—and contact lenses. Yes, you read that correctly. Google is creating a contact lens that can measure glucose levels in the wearer’s tears. This data will then be transmitted via an antenna. How cool is that!
Let’s consider the example of Theranos started by Elizabeth Holmes started when she was just 19 years old. The company have niftily streamlined and standardized blood testing by creating a handheld device — It uses a blood-testing platform based on microfluidics technology and needs just a few drops of blood obtained with a fingerstick to identify anything; from glucose to cancer to street drugs. So no more multiple little vials of blood obtained via traditional, venipuncture. AND PAINFUL NEEDLE PRICKS.
And then we have Nanobiosym, an innovative company that has created the Gene-Radar, a portable nanotechnology platform that uses biological nanomachines to quickly detect the genetic fingerprints of disease organisms such as HIV and Ebola.
Tech is already proving to be more accurate than human doctors when it comes to identifying cancers and other disease. So will doctors be replaced in the near future by tech? Only time will tell. (image via Shutterstock)