I believe that healthcare is on the verge of a technology revolution.
We’ve seen it countless times before, where technology companies such as Amazon, Uber and Airbnb, all successfully disrupted industries that had a long, stable heritage.
Healthcare is a high regulated, incredibly diverse industry, with many complexities. Companies invest billions into research and development, with no guarantee of success and a journey that may take more than ten years before a discovered product can start adding value.
With this in mind, it can be hard to understand how technology can truly disrupt the healthcare industry. Therefore, I thought I would share my vision for the healthcare revolution.
The year is 2025… Your alarm sounds, it’s time for work.
As you walk into your bathroom, the floor measures your weight, body composition, including percentage of bone mass, fat mass, muscle mass, and water mass, in addition to heart rate and pulse wave velocity (arterial stiffness). This data is used to identify a wide range of health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, muscle atrophy, arthritis, etc.
You then use the toilet, providing instant analysis of your urine, which is screened for disease and infection, such as diabetes, kidney / liver disease, etc. Your stool can also be analysed to identify diseases such as cancer, as well as bacterial, fungal and viral infections.
Next, you shower, where a full body analysis is completed. For example, mole mapping via digital photo-dermoscopy surveillance. This process helps identify skin defects and malignant melanoma.
You then brush your teeth, where your saliva is analysed to identify markers of endocrine, immunologic, inflammatory and infectious conditions.
While brushing your teeth, your eyes are checked by your mirror, via retinal-scan analysis. This detects macular degeneration, which untreated, could result in blindness.
All of this data is securely and privately stored in the cloud, where your virtual assistant can analyse the results and provide recommendations (covering health and fitness), as well as flag any risks or concerning trends. The data is also summarised for review on your smartphone. You can see both daily health statistics, trend data and any recommendations.
If a health issue is identified that requires an immediate intervention, your virtual assistant will automatically take action. This would include one of the following:
If the condition is known, your virtual assistant will automatically order the required medication. This medication will be delivered within one hour via the Amazon logistic network.
If the condition is unknown or non-critical, but requires consultancy, your virtual assistant will schedule a telemedicine meeting with your defined health care professional. This will leverage existing video conferencing services such as Apple FaceTime.
If the condition is known and requires immediate attention, an Uber will be requested with an “SOS” flag. It is likely that Uber will have better access to patients globally, compared to emergency services who are often routed from central locations. This also ensures emergency services are prioritised for emergencies.
This vision is not designed to be 100% accurate, instead it aims to highlight one way in which technology could disrupt the healthcare industry.
Summarised below are the key points:
Puts the emphasis on proactive healthcare, instead of reactive.
Does not require any manual intervention, it is embedded into everyday life.
Is continuous, happening multiple times per day, instead of relying on periodic check-ups.
Acts as an early warning system, when trend data indicates that your lifestyle is not optimal.
Drives early diagnosis of specific health issues, which is critical to ensure a positive outcome.
Provides a new channel (assuming consent) for data to be analysed and leveraged for future healthcare discoveries.
Removes the emphasis on diagnosis via health care professionals, instead focusing on machine learning.
Removes the need for traditional clinics, instead focusing on home delivery.
Has the potential to disrupt how pharmaceutical companies interact with patients (both clinical trial and commercial).
In my opinion, what is most exciting about this vision, is that everything highlighted is technically possible today. As a result, I believe it is only a matter of time before this vision becomes a reality. What will be interesting is to see who will enable it, will it be a traditional healthcare company, or a technology company?