The Future of Medicine is in Your Hands
- industry Highlights
- 2 years ago
Over the past decade, smartphones have radically changed many aspects of our everyday lives
From banking to shopping and entertainment. Medicine is next. In 2017 almost 45% (3.3 billion people) of the world population will own at least one mobile device.
With innovative digital technologies, cloud computing and machine learning, the medicalized smartphone is going to transform every aspect of health care
The end result will likely be that patients will take center stage for the first time. This doesn’t mean that digital avatars will replace physicians, however (people will still be seeing doctors), but the doctor-patient relationship will ultimately be radically altered.
Routine medical tests, like measuring blood pressure and blood glucose levels, and simple imaging can already be performed using new smartphone hardware attachments. But even bigger changes are in the works. Soon people will be able to expand their smartphone capabilities to generate their own medical data, including examining their overall body condition, by using wearable wireless sensors.
“In just a tiny droplet of blood, there’s a lot of information,” says Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and the director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, California. But it’s not just blood. It could be sweat, urine, or breath. Tests could be performed at home, replacing the expensive overnight hospital and lab visits. Technological advancements are already allowing people to get genome sequencing with mobile devices for just $250. This brings technology to the masses in a crucial way, by targeting medical treatments, drugs, and interventions to people who have specific diseases or are prone to them.
We still have obstacles to overcome, though.
Even as we’re making great strides in capturing personal medical information, we’re way behind in dealing with the data deluge. The healthcare industry tends to hoard big data but has done very little to extract meaningful information from it. To make it even more complicated, almost none of the new patient-generated data are standardized (from sensors, lab tests, self-exams, DNA sequencing, etc.), and currently they are flowing into the traditional hospital, or doctor-owned electronic health records, with no interconnection with the outside world. But there are, of course, exceptions.
evaluate massive amounts of real-world data in healthcare. The solutions provide knowledge data sharing among patients and physicians and evaluate the net clinical benefits of each therapy, which increases the quality of life and improves the treatment care.
We believe that when that flood of data is properly assembled, integrated and analyzed, it will offer huge new potential at two levels: the individual and the population as a whole.
And that goes not only for cancer; a person who develops a new illness could use a similar open-medicine resource to find their nearest “neighbor,” the individual who most closely resembles their condition, to help determine the best treatment. Just think about it, all you need is a medicalized smartphone, some hardware and a mobile signal to be part of global data-driven medicine. Patients won’t just be empowered, they’ll be emancipated.