Intel has released the results of a survey they conducted about what the good people of the world think technology’s role in health care will be in the future. Apparently, sharing is indeed caring.
84 percent of respondents said that they would agree to anonymously share their medical information, on the condition that it would pave the way for cheaper treatments and a lower-cost health care system. The number of people in the survey who said they would be willing to share their medical records far outstripped willingness to share phone records or banking information, which – well, yeah. That doesn’t seem awfully surprising.
What is surprising is that 57 percent of respondents said they believed traditional hospitals would be obsolete in the future. I don’t know how this question was framed in the survey, or what ‘traditional’ precisely refers to in this case, but it strikes me as a little odd. It seems like they’re referring to acute care centers and the like – later in the survey, 72 percent of respondents said they would be willing to have a video conference with a doctor from home. That would probably be easier on both doctors and patients, so knocking out hospital trips for consultations and minor illnesses is probably what was meant by the reference to hospitals becoming obsolete. Otherwise, I’m not sure I see where that 57 percent is coming from, unless the iPhone 6 is going to come with sophisticated blood analysis technology, a bone saw, and a built-in x-ray machine and sonogram. Maybe we’ll have to wait for the iPhone 7, there.
But, the survey suggests even some routine tests could in fact be knocked out at home in the future with sensors. 70 percent said they would be willing to try using sensors in toilets, prescription pill bottles, or tiny monitors to be swallowed, in order to make their health care easier and more affordable. The trick would be to make those sensors reliable, affordable, small, and widely disseminated, but if someone found success there, that’s a lot of money that could be saved on unnecessary trips to the hospital.
It seems like the future a lot of people have in mind is one where health is something that can be tracked personally and continuously, rather than something to get checked every once in a while. The biggest benefit – and cost-saver – of all, then, would be early prevention. The sooner problems are spotted, the cheaper the solution is probably going to be, so a future steeped in sophisticated health sensors sounds like it’ll be for the best. You’re going to be sharing that data, though. Something tells me that’s not going to be up for consultation.