What is Smart Health?
What is Smart Health?
There are tectonic shifts afoot, towards a digital convergence of people and digital health technology. They are fuelled by some of the biggest tech companies in the world, from Google to GE, to Siemens and IBM.
This is the birth of a dynamic new sector called Smart Health. US estimates of the industry are around $60 billion, and it’s growing fast.
Smart Health with Smart Devices
Who doesn’t carry one or more mobile devices with them? Now we can hook up our phones, our lights, our heating, our shopping, and many other things to our digital selves. We do this via apps, online services, and hip new tech gadgets, but what about our health? Yes, The internet of things is even bleeding into health.
I’m not talking about tracking calories on your phone, or steps on a fit-bit. I mean health devices connecting with your own devices and linking to your medical services. I mean wearables sensing when you are having health problems. Cough checkers can tell us when our COPD may need checking with a doctor. Monitoring devices can tell us if we’re having heart problems. Reminder apps can stop us forgetting our meds. These are all important services, and also indicators of a future where we are more dependent on devices to manage our health. We may even become less dependent on doctors and health professionals. At the very least we may be able to expect to see a doctor less frequently for manageable chronic conditions.
From Smart Health to Virtual Health
Taking this a step further, there are virtual health assistants with AI triage software, and systems enabling virtual appointments with doctors. We even have virtual surgeries where, through the magic of robotics, a surgeon on one half of the globe can treat a patient on the other. Smart implants can monitor glucose levels and adjust insulin levels, and ingestibles can feedback rafts of heath data.
Of course, there are initial teething problems with this kind of technology. There are safety concerns over the ‘hackability’ of health devices, especially things like pacemakers. But surely, these are ultimately surmountable hiccups on the road to a human healthcare system augmented by technology. Especially if it is to an extent that considerably reduces the significance of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and asthma.
At Elephant, we’re looking forward to MedTec Europe in Stuttgart, April 17-19 2018 (www.medteceurope.com) Smart Health is this year’s theme, and it’s right in our wheelhouse.
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