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Friday, April 3, 2015

How Apps, Wearables, And NanoTechnology Are Revolutionizing Healthcare 04-03

How Apps, Wearables, And NanoTechnology Are Revolutionizing Healthcare

Today, massive technological shifts – driven by Big Data, mobility, security and cloud computing – are rapidly transforming business and society. Entire industries are being completely transformed, and healthcare is one of them. These trends are unlocking new possibilities for hospitals, researchers, doctors and patients. Perhaps easily predicted, because innovations in healthcare are critical, technology advancements are setting exciting new benchmarks for further innovation, but also these innovations are saving countless lives all over the world. While massive amounts of data (Big Data) are enabling better diagnosis and predictions, applications, wearables, and nanotech are revolutionizing healthcare by empowering the consumer to take care of themselves and to perform better in their personal and professional lives. After all, if we don’t have our health, what are we left with? With so many advancements already achieved and the growing desire to take our own health by the horns, healthcare IT is fast turning into the favorite child of tech innovation.

Applications are changing the patient/doctor relationship

In today’s health-conscious world, tools like Fitbit and other personal monitoring tools are becoming ubiquitous, allowing us to track our fitness activities, sleep patterns, blood pressure and caloric intake. The trend to track these lifestyle variables has changed the dynamics of the traditional patient-doctor relationship, and has opened the doors to more advanced forms of treatment and care through remote monitoring, telemedicine, etc. In-clinic diagnostic treatment is giving way to virtual consultation, and homecare might replace hospital care very soon as we move to turn patient/doctor relationships into virtual ones.
2014 witnessed widespread adoption of telemedicine across healthcare facilities in the U.S, while the field has become even more accessible with healthcare retail giants like Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS stepping into the telemedicine game. New telemedicine kiosks have made their way into retail spaces and mobile apps have been developed with the aim of putting healthcare into the hands of the patients. Not just for diagnosing common illnesses, apps are also being developed to manage critical diseases. For instance, a new Ebola Care App is helping caregivers and Ebola workers handle key areas of disease management such as data collection, analysis, and response.

Wearables and nanotech: The future of healthcare is here

While applications and tools are enabling self-monitoring of health, more sophisticated devices and technologies are also capable of delivering the data generated to healthcare professionals, who can process it to predict and prevent bigger health concerns in the future. Wearable devices are playing a major role in transferring actionable data from patients to doctors and caregivers, even employers. As a recent example, Google X Lab has partnered with Novartis to design contact lenses that track glucose levels in the wearer’s tears and transfers that information to a mobile device that the doctor uses for monitoring.
Another Google X project is the use of nanotechnology for detecting cancer. This project aimed at developing the nanoparticles Pill, which when ingested will run through the bloodstream, detects any abnormalities that suggest the presence of cancer. The data generated will be transmitted to doctors through a wearable device. It may be a revolutionary innovation for detecting and eradicating life-threatening diseases in their early stages.
The way disruptive technologies are creating seismic shifts in the healthcare landscape, it’s not hard to predict that we are in the midst of a healthcare revolution that empowers us more than ever to manage our lives to perform better on the field, at work, or in our home. Our ability to track our diet, exercise, daily activity, and sleep are giving us the opportunity to better understand how we can be at our best. As we gain insight, we’ll be provided with data (Big Data) that will not only allow us to make better decisions about how we live, but will give our doctor’s insight on how to save lives, and will even allow companies to better plan technology and healthcare for their employees and determine the best ways to provide Life-Work balance that brings out the very best in us.

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