My brother-in-law recently had surgery on his knee and at about the same time I came across applications for Apple iPhone or Android phones that used the phone in innovative ways to provide medical value. One, clever example was to use the camera flash to allow the camera to read your heart rate. Even more innovative is the application that uses augmented reality to allow people with color blindness to see color the way other people do.
I an really impressed by these innovative applications of technology as well as many other discussed by Charlie Bess in his blog post “New medical applications as mobility advances”.
These seeming unconnected thing got me thinking about why Healthcare has to be reactive, i.e. waiting for you to get ill and then fixing you, rather than proactive, i.e. ensuring that you stay healthy.
Many service based industries provide contracts which are based on the hours the product is kept in service rather than the more traditional break-fix arrangement. So why can’t we allow people to collect health data about themselves (e.g., blood sugar level, cholesterol level, blood pressure, etc) store this data into the cloud using broadband and/or wireless data transfer.
Then you could share your data with your healthcare provider who would make use of the cloud processing capabilities to analyze changes in your data over time and use this to proactively direct your treatment regime.
Changing healthcare data to healthcare information is often referred to as Healthcare 2.0 and is described by Dan Gonos in his blog post “Can Cloud-based Services be used to transform healthcare data into actionable information?”, but I want to get to, what I am going to call Healthcare 3.0; Where we collect and process information prior to the patient getting ill. So it becomes about maximizing the healthy life of a person.
This isn’t a new idea, as Cicero put it over 2,000 years ago “In nothing do men more nearly approach the gods than in giving health to men.”