Byte-by-Byte: The Healthcare Switch

October 10, 2018

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Byte-by-Byte: The Healthcare Switch

Your news feed is filled with chatter about the rising costs of healthcare. Insurance premiums are skyrocketing, and medications cost the arm and leg you were trying to treat in the first place… But there’s good news for your headline-induced boredom levels: innovation in the field of medicine is happening at the same speed as tech development. Not surprisingly, in many cases, it’s directly correlated.

Medical AI

The fake medical company Theranos left everyone with a bad taste in their mouths when it comes to medical startups. But bad reputations aside, it is only a matter of time before actually functional procedures and breakthroughs hit the market and make a tremendous impact. Consider this: AI has become a reliable solution to not only bring treatment costs down but also reduce the percentage of human error. On a global scale, consultations can be easily upgraded; we even can potentially deliver high-quality medical diagnoses with the help of mobile phones.

Technology Plus Pathology

An example: over at Stanford there was a recent breakthrough in skin-care detection. It’s an application of deep learning with a success rate that surpasses top doctors in the field. A solution like this could be integrated into smartphone cameras, and people could get themselves out of harm’s way without having to work up the courage to show their weird moles to a healthcare professional. Your average physician can’t sift through the thousands of medical papers published every day. And there’s no way they can keep up-to-date with incidence rates of patients all across the globe. But if there was an AI program armed with breakneck processing speeds (we’re looking at you, Watson) there’s a much better chance of diagnosing mysterious diseases. In fact, IBM is already working closely with cancer clinics, where it can create an accurate diagnosis while being able to prescribe medicine that is tailored to the patient’s needs and physiology.

An Apple a Day…

Uberfication leaves nothing untouchedeven the medical industry. Major medical companies are buying out startups based in San Franciscobusinesses that operate on low monthly fees and are more reminiscent of the Apple Store than a clinic: the fee includes unlimited visits and consultations. Why the low fees? AI and IoT-based services. There are also integrated pharmacies that tailor prescriptions on a customer-by-customer basis. It’s all part of an end-to-end solution, as seen in the Apple ecosystem: first, you buy the iPhone, then the iPad, then apps from the App Store, and so on. It’s a strategy.

Your Health, but Digital

It’s nice to see that the legacy systems in healthcare are not exempt from the changes brought on by the technological revolution. Get your eyes checked and then keep them peeled for the new ways we’ll dream up to keep people healthy. In the meantime, try this recent medical tech innovation on for size: organs-on-a-chip.