A doctor diagnosing you without seeing you, or a contact lens which monitors your blood sugar around the clock. Healthcare is on the precipice of a major revolution, and technology is leading the way.
In the U.S., health insurance premiums, copays and deductibles have steadily increased over the last few years, a trend that’s forced patients to take a more proactive role in their health. Yet, despite our best efforts counting calories or logging steps, when it comes to diagnosis, the doctor’s office is an irritating reality. Or maybe not. Healthcare is about to go I-Robot.
Telemedicine & Diagnostic Tools
Med school teaches doctors how to treat a patient in person. In the future, they may not have to. Telemedicine is an approach to medicine where a diagnosis is performed remotely. Handheld devices such as the TytoClinic: a portable diagnostic tool with built-in camera, thermometer, stethoscope, otoscope and tongue depressor, send data directly to your doctor, enabling them to diagnose your condition without the need to see you. Telemedicine offers patients the care of their doctor, without leaving their home.
CGM & Smart Contact Lenses for blood glucose monitoring
Diabetes is on the up. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tells us:
- 29.1 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, but 8.1 million may be undiagnosed and unaware of their condition.
- About 1.4 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in U.S. every year.
- More than 1 in every 10 adults 20 years or older have diabetes. For seniors, that figure rises to more than 1 in 4.
- Cases of diagnosed diabetes cost the U.S. an estimated $245 billion in 2012.
Traditional methods of glucose monitoring required a blood test performed by your doctor, but CGM: Continuous Glucose Monitoring makes it easier to measure your daily levels in the comfort of your own home. CGM is a small wearable device, which tracks your glucose day and night, alerting you to any signs of danger so you can take remedial action immediately.
As if that wasn’t enough, Google is working on a contact lens that tracks blood sugar levels simply through a user’s tears! A microchip in the lens would send data to the user’s smartphone app, providing a non-invasive digital method to measure glucose levels.
If the past was wait times, the future is real time
According to Mony Weschler at Montefiore Health, patients want real-time communication with their doctors, not half a day in the doctor’s office. However, a move away from the bricks and mortar model of patient care can only happen if a patient is more engaged in their health and aware of the steps they need to take. Healthcare technology enables that through specialized health-assistive technologies. In 2016, investment in digital healthcare reached $6.5 bln, a sign of things to come.
The future of healthcare is set to be instant, real time and consumer driven.
As always, pushing for health.