Apple and The Future of Homebuilding

Apple announces HomeKit

Apple senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi speaks about the Apple HomeKit at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Can Apple influence the future of homebuilding? 

I’ve long been critical of SmartHome marketing hype, and I’ve not been a fan of using speech commands to control home devices, but a Forbes article last week got me thinking and inspired today’s posting. (See Here’s How Apple’s Siri Will Control Your House Under HomeKit Program.)

Apple Understands Accessibility

Homebuilders can learn a lot from Apple when it comes to making homes more accessible and easier to live in. For the most part builders still focus too much on what potential buyers can see in the model home, such as marble entries, granite countertops, textured walls with rounded corners, and Moën faucets with lever handles. They don’t focus enough on foundations, insulation, infrastructure, and design elements for aging-in-place, although this is starting to change. Read More …

When I was born, or when you were

Roy Rogers

Certain pivotal events cause us to reflect on the past or envision the future. New Year’s day is one such event; birthdays are another. Since my birthday is tomorrow, so I thought it might be fun to see if you could guess when I was born, based on interesting tidbits I found online. After all, this site already has over 100 articles on the Future and several more on preserving your digital Legacy. Isn’t it time to just look back and see how much change has occurred in our lifetimes? Read More …

IBM Watson Health: Transforming Healthcare

Watson Health: Empowering Patients and Transforming Healthcare

IBM WatsonBy Kyu Rhee, MD, MPP

There was an interesting decision to make within IBM about what to call a new business organization that we’re announcing today [4/13/2015]. Should it be named Watson Health or Watson Healthcare? [emphasis added]

“Health” is an aspiration, for individuals and society. “Healthcare” describes an industry primarily focused on treating diseases.

While healthcare is essential, it represents just one of many factors that determine whether people live long and healthy lives. Some other critical factors are genetics, geography, behaviors, social/environmental influences, education, and economics.  Unless society takes all of these factors into account and puts the individual at the center of the healthcare system, we won’t be able to make large-scale progress in helping people feel better and live longer. So, IBM Watson Health it is. Read More …

The Cost of Aging in America

 

Income levels for aging Americans are increasing,
but not as quickly as “The Cost of Aging in America.”

The infographic below was produced by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. It explores the serious financial burdens faced by aging Americans, their loved ones, and industry — as well as steps our health care system might take to counteract this trend. I gladly feature it today to complement other articles here about health reform, public policy, and the future of healthcare.

Some highlights:

  • The number of seniors 85 and older will triple by 2050, an important statistic because these are people who need the most expensive care.
  • The cost of healthcare in America is already over $3 trillion/year, and that doesn’t even include the roughly $450 billion provided by unpaid family members.
  • Paid caregivers earn just $18-20K per year, and while demand for their services will likely double by 2022, their wages likely won’t increase much.

Read More …

Investor Look at 2015 Healthcare Opportunity

Bull MarketEditorial by Wayne Caswell

While I’m not a financial advisor or Wall Street analyst, I took issue with a MedCityNews article by Paul Beckley, “An investor’s 2015 healthcare roundup.” In short, he said to “BELIEVE in the business of health.” While I’m bullish on the future of healthcare, I sure hope he’s wrong, because the amount Americans spend on healthcare needs to go way down, not up. Here’s my reader comment and investor advice.

Beckley’s article bills Healthcare as an immensely profitable industry. It is, because it brings in $3T/year. But since that’s twice what other nations pay per person, yet we still live sicker and die younger (per the World Health Organization), investors should prepare for some very big losses in my view. At least that’s what I hope happens, and while it may not be good for clueless healthcare investors, it would be immensely good for the economy.

Our nation should “theoretically” be able to cut overall costs in half (like $1.5T/year) with health reform, digital innovation and new business models and still improve outcomes. There will be many winners among the innovators, but there will also be a great many losers who aren’t insightful enough to see the handwriting on the wall or quick enough to adapt.

As Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”

That, and the fact that 429 of the original Fortune 500 companies [1955] are no longer in business today, is a scary thought for those sitting at the top of the healthcare mountain. They know they must adapt to health reform die, and they’re looking down with fear at hungry innovators who are already exploiting the many healthcare MiniTrends and their important intersections. For those innovative entrepreneurs, these are times of great opportunity, and they’re climbing up the mountain.

See 101 MiniTrends in Health Care. It’s a “must read” for investors and entrepreneurs looking at the 2015 healthcare opportunity.

Lack of Fast Internet threatens Telehealth Future

I responded to an online discussion of a call for Congress to Expand Telehealth Services to Improve Patient Access and Outcomes and Decrease Healthcare Costs. Key to delivering telehealth is the availability of high-speed Internet access, and that prompted me to comment on an online conversation of this HIMSS problem description.

The enormous potential of telehealth or telemedicine to positively transform healthcare delivery in America is not being realized due to numerous impediments. These include out-of-date public and private reimbursement structures, inadequate broadband availability, and varying licensure and practice restrictions between some states. … In many areas of the country, there are not enough health professionals to provide in-person visits or appropriate follow up care, especially for mental health and highly specialized services like pediatric critical care. In other areas, distance or unavailability of transportation presents impediments to care.

Read More …

MiniTrends affecting Telehealth

Skype TranslatorOverlapping MiniTrends affecting Telehealth include

  1. health reform,
  2. the Internet of Things,
  3. speech recognition & synthesis, and
  4. real-time language translation.

I’ve written a lot here about health reform, telehealthmedical tourism, the Internet of Things, and the overlap of healthcare MiniTrends, but today I saw a video that evolves my thinking further. It’s about Microsoft’s Skype and their newest Skype Translator Preview.

The Skype Translator video below gave me a glimpse of what telehealth might be like in 5 years or so. This vision includes the Internet, video consultations, smart sensors, and the trend of medical devices becoming smaller, cheaper, easier to use, and widely used among consumers for telemedicine. But the video consultation may be done from anywhere, in any language, and that could dramatically increase competition and result in much better outcomes at lower prices.

As you watch, imagine that it’s a conversation between you and a doctor in Costa Rica, where you went for your knee surgery and recovered on the beach in a 4-star hotel, paid for by your insurer because the outcomes were better than most any U.S. provider. It’s the sheer volume of procedures they do that led to their world-class expertise and efficiency.  Read More …

Cars for seniors who can’t drive themselves

Google's Driverless Car

EDITOR: When seniors can no longer drive a car, they lose their independence and become dependent on others for the simplest things — shopping for groceries or Christmas gifts, getting a haircut, going the bank or doctor or the movies, and more. That can be devastating and even force them into institution care, ultimately shortening their lifespan. So it’s why I’m a fan of the autonomous, self-driving car, and Google, the company that’s so far leading the way. And it’s why I’m happy to republish this article by Zachary Shahan at FIX.com about cars for seniors who can’t drive themselves.

Hands-Free Driving: Google’s New Driverless Car

One of the biggest tech stories of the year is definitely the unveiling of Google’s driverless car. The general story is this: Google is manufacturing some completely self-driving cars – no steering wheels, accelerator pedals, or brake pedals. But the details are pretty fascinating, and even more interesting are the broad societal implications. Read More …

What is Functional Medicine?

3-legged stoolI first encountered the term Functional Medicine a few years ago during a lecture by Dr. Lane Sebring at a World Future Society dinner. In keeping with the focus of this organization, he titled his talk The Future of Medicine is … Not Medicine, which links to my notes and a video of the 71-min lecture. Dr. Sebring looked to anthropology to understand why, even with modern medicine, many of our diseases today didn’t even exist about a century ago when Heart Disease was almost unknown and Cancer was rare, not even making the top 10 as a cause of death.

The more he looked into the cause of illness, the more he became disillusioned and frustrated with modern healthcare and the traditional practice of providing “sick care” and just another pill in a “disease management” system that profits from illness. To focus his practice on health & wellness, he became an expert in Functional Medicine, which he describes as a form of evolutionary, integrative, holistic, or alternative medicine. Read More …

101 MiniTrends in Health Care

Watch for Trends Ahead

This image is from MiniTrends, a book by John Vanston that I strongly endorse. I’ve known John for years and did consulting work for his company, Technology Futures. His book inspired my Modern Health Talk vision. (Click image to see book. Go to end to hear about the MiniTrends conference.)

“What the Hell is happening to health care?”

“And is it an Opportunity or a Threat?”

Insights by Wayne Caswell, Founder of Modern Health Talk.

An awful lot has changed in just the last few years and even more will change in the near future, with the aim of reducing (or at least containing) our health care costs. What’s behind these MiniTrends, and what is their implication for providers, payers and consumers? That’s the $1.5 trillion question. Here I talk about many, many MiniTrends–surely you can find 101 of them if you look! 

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” – Charles Darwin

That quote is important, because 429 of the original Fortune 500 companies [1955] are no longer in business today. That’s a scary thought for those sitting at the top of the healthcare mountain, because they know they must adapt to the megatrend of health reform and Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) or die. And they are looking down with fear at the hungry competitors who are already exploiting the many related minitrends, because for them these are times of great opportunity.

Read More …

Reframing the Question of Doctor Frustration

Frustrated DoctorBy Dr. Stephen Schimpff

Editor: I just love this doctor’s thinking and have published several of his articles here. I’m happy to feature another one from HealthWorksCollective.

There has been a lot of interest in the Daily Beast article written by Dr Daniela Drake, about very frustrated primary care physicians (PCP.) She quoted both Dr Kevin Pho and myself. Dr Drake noted that nine of 10 doctors would not recommend medicine to their children as a career and that 300 physicians commit suicide each year. “Simply put, being a doctor has become a miserable and humiliating undertaking.”  Dr Pho offered his own commentary here pointing out that “it is important to have the discussion on physician dissatisfaction….demoralized doctors are in no position to care for patients…To be sure many people with good intentions are working toward solving the healthcare crisis. But the answers they’ve come up with are driving up costs and driving out doctors.” Read More …

Telehealth is Shaping Healthcare for the Better

Game ChangerBy Karen R. Thomas, President of Advanced TeleHealth Solutions

As incredibly innovative and efficient as telehealth is at providing greater access to care for consumers, lowering healthcare costs for both patients and healthcare systems, and improving outcomes, barriers have always existed that hinder the widespread adoption of telehealth. Yet recently, issues such as state requirement hurdles, reimbursement limitations, and a general resistance from physicians to learn and integrate new technologies into their care routines are quickly evaporating in the wake of the overwhelming proof of telemedicine’s many benefits. Read More …

Managing My Costs of Care [ESSAY]

MedicaidDollarsManaging My Costs of Care is a well-written essay by Jay Warner.

I recommend it, because this one example shows just how easy it “should” be to cut healthcare costs in half to get down to what the rest of the world pays — for better care and outcomes — and save $1.5 trillion/year. It all comes down to getting the incentives right, because with employer-provided health insurance, Jay had no incentive (or ability) to comparison shop. Now he does.

The healthcare landscape is changing as payers pressure providers for more price transparency and seek other ways to contain costs and maintain profitability now that they can no longer cherry-pick the healthiest customers or cut them off when care gets too expensive.

Other disruptive changes include remote sensor monitoring (telemedicine) that can follow trends and identify problems earlier, remote consultations (telehealth) that can replace in-person office visits, medical tourism when it’s less expensive and has better outcomes than local surgeries, and an overall shift away from the fee-for-service insurance model. That model once served as pre-paid medical care, but now payers are starting to view insurance as protection against catastrophic illness and injury with consumers paying for the small stuff out of pocket. With that trend comes two others: (1) increased competition and (2) an increased focus on overall health and wellness, including nutrition, exercise, and sleep as it’s pillars.

A side benefit of wellness, beyond dramatic reductions in health care costs, is improved safety and performance. Restorative sleep, for example, is associated with improved alertness, attention, creativity, decision-making, focus, learning ability, mood, reaction & recovery times, and working memory, all of which contribute to better grades at school, better productivity at work and in sports, and fewer motor vehicle accidents and deaths.

Public Health in 2030, alternative scenarios

Least Desirable ScenarioBy Wayne Caswell

As a retired IBM technologist, health consumer advocate, and amateur futurist, I’ve often written about The Future of Healthcare and highly recommend this report by the Institute for Alternative Futures.

Public Health 2030: A Scenario Exploration is supported by funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Kresge Foundation and presents alternative futures to help shape decision-making and public investments in a preferred version of the future while avoiding things that would lead to a less desirable version. Read More …

Desperate Patients Look to Lab-Grown Organs

Hannah WarrenLast week Yvonne and I watched a two-hour NBC News special report by Meredith Vieira, A Leap of Faith, that blew us away and had us both to tears. It was about an Italian scientist and surgeon, Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, and his pioneering accomplishments with human organs grown in a lab with a patient’s own stem cells, as well as the struggles he faces in this important new field. His work is described as shaping the future of medicine and is focused on transplanting artificially grown trachea.

One of the featured patients was little Hannah Warren. Hannah was born without a trachea. She couldn’t breathe on her own and spent her entire life in the hospital, only kept alive by a tube inserted down her mouth and into her lungs. Read More …

How Wearable Technology Could Save Our Health

Wearable Technology – Helping Your Doctor Help You

Save Our Health

You might have heard the aggressive term “glasshole,” which unaffectionately refers to people who wear their Google Glass wearable computing device everywhere and all day long.  The Google Glass is actually just one type of wearable computing device.

Smartwatches, smart wristbands, fitness trackers, helmet-worn impact checkers, back pain posture checkers, necklaces, clip-ons, smart clothing and other wearable technology already exist and may be an important part in the future of healthcare.

These gadgets can record various vitals and electronically send them to your doctor on your next visit, or via apps on your smartphone. When data collection becomes that easy, anonymized and aggregated data from cities, states or even countries can be analyzed to detect trends in the general population. Read More …

Powering tiny medical circuits in the body

Batteryless Electrostimulator

A batteryless electrostimulator next to medicinal pills for size comparison. (Photo: Austin Lee)

In my interview last year with Dr. Metin Akay, he described the daunting problem of powering tiny computer chips deep inside the body. Neurologists, he said, can already control the misfiring of rogue neurons that cause epilepsy by implanting small electrodes in the brain cluster of misbehaving neurons, but they still must resolve battery-life issues and need a reliable power source.

Today they do this by connecting the electrodes to a power source worn outside the body, but Stanford assistant professor of electrical engineering, Ada Poon, has found a safe way to transfer energy to tiny circuits the size of a grain of rice using targeted ratio waves. Read More …

The Future of Medicine is … Not Medicine

fresh-fruits-and-vegetables“The Future of Medicine is … Not Medicine” was the topic of a lecture I attended three years ago by Dr. Lane Sebring of Winberley, TX. He spoke to our futurist dinner at the World Future Society, and I completely forgot about this until I stumbled upon a recording and re-watched it. What follows are my notes from his 71-minute lecture, followed by the video recording and a shorter 3-minute intro to his clinic. Dr. Sebring got his MD at the University of Texas in Galveston but quickly became disillusioned with the traditional practice of providing “sick care” and just another pill in what can be called a “disease management” system that profits from treating symptoms to keep patients as paying customers. Because he wanted to focus on health and wellness instead, he became an expert in Functional Medicine — a form of alternative, integrative, or holistic medicine — and now practices in that specialty and serves as a board examiner for the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Read More …

The Future of Health – Expert Perspectives

This video compilation of expert perspectives describes a future that relies largely on technology to address expected doctor shortages as the population grows, ages, and lives longer. It’s from PSFK Labs’s latest Health Trends Report, which rounds up 13 areas of innovation and groups them into four categories.

  1. Nudging and encouraging people to make healthier lifestyle choices
  2. Empowering people to gather advice and self-diagnose before ever going to a doctor
  3. Distributing care among doctors with a cloud-based “commons” that allows them to share research and advice
  4. Augmenting care with wearable, embed-able, and prosthetic monitors and devices

For my deeper dive into what tech innovation will enable, see Moore’s Law and the FUTURE of Healthcare.