“Imagine a world in which your medicine cabinet notices that you are due for a prescription refill and calls it in. A sensor implanted under your skin detects a fluid buildup in your lungs and alerts your doctor, who decides your heart medication needs an adjustment and contacts the pharmacist to change your dosage.
“Meanwhile, sensors in your toilet confirm that your body has adjusted well to your other medications but sees indications that you may be a borderline diabetic. Your doctor, given these readings and your family medical history, suggests that you change your diet.
“Noting that fact, your bathroom scale asks you to punch in a weight-loss goal and starts giving you a regular progress update. Your medical checkup isn’t an annual event—it happens every day, simply as you go about your daily life.”
As our health care costs are rising from year to year and our age distribution and solitary living conditions make medical monitoring a regular procedure for more and more people such new technologies might show a way out of this cost spiral.
But as so often — it is not the technology alone that can help the system to deflate again to a manageable size but it is the business models that can make such new approaches palatable for the players in the health sector.
Since this sector is (in most areas of our planet) highly regulated and devoid of a market economy mechanisms and since there is no “Health CEO” looking at the overall picture very often promising new technological approaches fall into the abyss of fighting Scylla and Charybdis — the hospitals vs. the insurers vs. the medical organisations vs. the pharmacies vs. the patients.
I don’t want to sound too negative here (talking from experience as the chairman of a small telemedicine company) but we have to work very hard on the business models to ensure that new technologies like the ones mentioned in the article can indeed help to save cost and make our lives better.