Saturday, September 08, 2012

Healthcare - Days of Future Past

From time to time, BRT makes guesstimates about the future of some tech or process based on some research and intuition done by yours truly. Predictions, not a chance, given the inherent vagaries of the quantum but quesstimates do apply because who knows, some of this info may actually come to pass as long as not too many black swans get in the way of getting proper feedback when gazing into the crystal ball of reality. The subject covered here is Healthcare, a boondoggle of mammoth proportions today, but perhaps not so much in the future if tech has anything to do about it.

Disruptive does not even describe what will happen to healthcare when...
  • Watson goes into smart phones and becomes friendly Dr. Welby, available 24/7 in the privacy of your own home. Implications for the future of doctors cannot be underestimated when...
  • Lab on a Chip gets real and can be bought at the local drug store complete with wireless connectivity to a smartphone or computer with connects to, you guessed it, Watson, the friendly digital doc who's analysis of one's drop of blood placed into the aforementioned Lab on A Chip is assessed with lab results sent back to you within minutes telling you why you are feeling the way you do without delay and without exorbitant costs, which means
  • The number of doctors needed to do baseline healthcare plummets
  • The cost of doing lab analysis of one's blood plummets
  • The cost of processing claims plummets while
  • The number of nurse practitioners rises to do the basics, i.e.flu shots, minor injuries etc., etc.
  • The question of drug and hospital costs will become the central issue along with insurance premiums as tech will have drastically lowered the cost of healthcare via the hardware/software environment described above.  
  • The same push of tech will impact administrative inefficiencies as well because technology will force the industry to become more transparent, competitive and web savvy regarding doctor, drug, hospital/MRI/Xray and insurance costs because people will demand it just as they demanded the same transparency when looking to buy anything else that's available on line whether it be books, computers or software.
Timeframe: 5 - 10 years if lobbyists and unenlightened self interests don't hold it back, something I don't see happening given just how badly broken the current system is.

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