The CSC (Computer Science Corporation) released a report that identifies a new wave of disruptive technologies that will reshape the delivery of healthcare. These new technologies will help control costs while improving health by ushering in an era of wellness, self-monitoring, increased and earlier detection of disease, and more effective treatments.
The report, “The Future of Healthcare: It’s Health, Then Care,” identifies a wide range of technologies in development, from intelligent pills that deliver targeted doses of medication to specific locations in the body, to brain implants that prevent seizures, to contact lenses with microchips to detect glaucoma, to bioprinting that creates new skin.
“Healthcare needs significant disruptive change to address its problems and there are many maturing technologies that can help,” said Fran Turisco, the study’s lead researcher, who is an Emerging Practices research principal in CSC’s Global Healthcare Services Group. “What we have seen to date is only the tip of the iceberg of a wide range of technologies coming out of commercial, government and university research labs that can make a significant difference for wellness and care delivery.”
The report identifies five key trends that will change healthcare, all enabled by these emerging technologies:
E-Power to the Patient
Patients will be in charge of their care management on a daily basis, marked by “shared care” between patient and provider. They will be empowered through the availability of health information, new intelligent health and care applications, and a support system that encourages and monitors progress.
- Supporting technologies include: Smartphone and Internet-accessible applications such as iTriage healthcare information, PatientsLikeMe.com social networking website and a Band-Aid-like heart rate sensor sending data wirelessly to a smartphone. For homebound patients, intelligent bathrooms and sensor-rich “living laboratories” are in pilot stages.
Accelerating early diagnoses is crucial to starting treatment for, and preventing, illnesses. Detection options will range from simple, inexpensive technology tests to complex genetic testing.
- Supporting technologies include: Breath tests using nanotechnology to detect diabetes and cancer, off-the-shelf cameras and fiber optics for cancer identification, tests made of paper, lab-on-a-chip tests, and sensor-based at-home solutions for diagnosing sleep apnea.
Next-generation implants and ingestibles will monitor disease progress, dispense medications, and assist and replace malfunctioning organs and limbs.
- Supporting technologies include: Glucose monitoring tattoos, smart pills that send notifications when swallowed, an artificial pancreas for diabetics and artificial retinas for blind patients.
More, but Different: Care provider roles will change and resources will be more widely available through remote technologies and online communities, for both care and consultation as well as teaching and training.
- Supporting technologies include: Sensor-laden teddy bear robots for monitoring children in hospitals, robotic care assistants for the elderly, smartphone-enabled patient coaching and monitoring, “serious” video games for honing medical decision-making, mobile medical training, and ongoing education applications using the Internet, smartphones and tablets.
Global Healthcare Ecosystem Emerges
A rich ecosystem, armed with data and knowledge, will support more connected care and research collaboration to advance disease identification and treatment.
- Supporting technologies and collaborative networks include: M2Gen for personalized cancer treatment, Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation conducting clinical testing on three continents, the Global Public Health Grid to improve public health information, and health information exchanges.
The report provides in-depth analyses of each healthcare trend, supported by descriptions of the emerging technologies that are enabling these trends. The full report is available for free at http://www.csc.com/lefreports.