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.

Technology and the Senior Housing Industry

Is Technology Disrupting or Transforming the Senior Housing Industry?

Visiting GrandmaThis is the question posed by Joseph F Coughlin, Director of the MIT AgeLab, in his article, which is reproduced below with his permission.

The disruptive demographics of an aging society offers a growth opportunity for the senior housing industry. However, technology is also presenting new ways to enable older adults to stay in their own homes rather than move into senior housing options. Yet many of these same technologies, creatively applied, may improve the attractiveness and operational efficiency of senior housing. So is technology a threat or an opportunity for the senior housing industry? The answer is – yes. Read More …

Healthcare in the age of Dr. Google

Dr.GoogleHealthcare in the age of Dr. Google: the 2014 digital patient journey is sponsored by Fathom Healthcare, a healthcare marketing company.

Ask any medical professional what has changed about patient behavior the last few years, and she is sure to talk about a physician who never was accepted to med school … the ubiquitous “Dr. Google.”

When patients start to notice something doesn’t feel quite right, they google their symptoms and make a preliminary diagnosis. In fact, 86 percent of patients conduct a health-related search before scheduling a doctor’s appointment. 90 percent of adults ages 18-24 say they would trust medical information shared by others in their social networks. Forty-one percent say social media impacts their choice of healthcare providers. Read More …

Movies about the Future of Health Care?

What movies do you think create the best vision of the future of health care? And what scene is particularly memorable with great foresight? Please comment.

Here’s a list of Movies about the Future of Health Care compiled by Modern Health Talk:

Wall-EWall-E” is a warm-hearted commentary on environmental pollution that portrays future humans as super-obese couch potatoes living in a robot & technology dominated world.

Robot and Frank” shows the challenges and benefits of companion robots for the elderly who don’t warm easily to technology. Read More …

5 mHealth Tech Trends to Shape Industry


Alivecor Heart Monitor

 

By Snookie Lioncourt

With continuous advancements in technology, more and more innovative solutions have been invented to facilitate global healthcare delivery services. These include a number of medical and healthcare mobile applications, remote Caregiving tools, assistive wearable devices for elderly and disabled patients, live mobile pulse monitoring systems, and emergency response GPS trackers. So, what do all of these innovations portend for 2014 and onwards? In 5 mHealth Tech Trends to Shape Industry, we’ll take a closer look at five significant technological trends this year that will vehemently shape the future of the mobile health (mHealth) industry. Read More …

The Future of Universal Design

Universal Design

This bathroom looks elegant but it also has all the elements for Aging in Place — a zero barrier shower threshold for walkers and wheelchairs, shower seat, hand-held shower, a foot bath with whirlpool jets and an attractive grab bar. (MTI Whirlpools)

By Guest Blogger Edward Steinfeld, ArchD, Professor of Architecture and Director of the IDeA Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access, State University of New York at Buffalo. The Future of Universal Design was originally written for Disability.gov, which is included in our list of government websites.

From Accessibility to Inclusion

Universal design (UD) is an idea that developed in the mid-1990s as advocates of making buildings and products accessible to people with disabilities realized that these features often had benefits for a broader population. Examples include curb ramps, automated doors, closed captioning in television sets and accessibility features for computer operating systems. Read More …

Ageing and Brain Science

Science & Technology ConvergenceThis article explores advances in neural engineering research and is based on my interview with Dr. Metin Akay, Founding Chairman of the new Biomedical Engineering Department and the John S. Dunn professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Houston. His discipline unites the fields of engineering, computer science, physics, chemistry, and mathematics with cellular, molecular, cognitive and behavioral neurosciences.

One expected result of these fields converging is to lower health care costs. Another is to extend life, but as Dr. Akay put it, “While it’s very important to live longer, it’s much more important to have quality of life.” Read More …

Beyond Jeopardy!, What is Watson Up To Now?

IBM Watson plays Jeopardy! and wins.By Dr. Martin Kohn, Chief Medical Scientist for IBM Research

Two years ago, IBM’s Watson computer shocked the world when it beat two past grand champions on the TV quiz show Jeopardy!

Watson isn’t playing around anymore.

Watson and the technological leaps forward that made it so revolutionary — the ability to understand human speech, make sense of huge amounts of complex information in split seconds, rank answers based on probability, and learn from its mistakes — are being put to work.

In health care, Watson is helping doctors tailor medical treatment to every patient’s situation in a time when the amount of medical information is doubling every five years. Read More …

If Air Travel Worked Like Health Care

If the principles of Moore’s Law had been applied to the airline industry…The video below makes fun of the health care industry with a satirical look at what the airline industry would be like if it worked the same way.

Neither industry, however, has shown the same innovation & improvement as the computer industry, which I come from as a retired IBM technologist. To put that statement into perspective, here are some observations.

Moore’s Law and Air Travel

Read More …

WSU shares Smart Home technology with the world

smart home

By Tina Hilding, College of Engineering and Architecture

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University researchers have received a National Science Foundation grant to share their “smart home in a box” technology with 60 institutions and scientists around the world in what will be the largest-ever installation of such home monitoring systems.

The collaborators will develop their own monitoring projects in a home or a lab and report back their results. With this data, the WSU researchers will be able to develop a system for using and sharing cutting-edge, smart environments data on a large scale. Read More …

As Boomers Age, Who Will Care for Seniors?

the romanian mob

Photo by Flickr user jonrawlinson

Guest article by Albert Lester (editor enhanced)

Americans keep living longer. According to the CIA World Factbook, 26% of Americans are older than 55. Just more than 40% fall in the 25-54 age range, double the rate for those under age 14, and dwarfing the number of 15-24 year olds. Moreover, our population growth is less than one percent. For baby boomers, some of whom have already entered retirement, this brings an interesting question: will there be enough entitlement funds to help support them in old age, and will there be enough caregivers in the smaller generation groups that follow them to meet the demand? Read More …

Defining Digital Health

Science & Technology Convergence

What’s Digital Health?

According to Paul Sonnier, Head of Digital Health Strategy at Popper and Company, “Digital Health is the convergence of the digital and genetics revolutions with health and healthcare. He sees digital health as empowering us to better track, manage, and improve our own and our family’s health. It’s also helping to reduce inefficiencies in healthcare delivery, improve access, reduce costs, increase quality, and make medicine more personalized and precise.” Read More …

Young Innovators and The Future of Healthcare

Brain InterfaceThis article is about the power of the Internet as a learning and research tool, and the role that young, Internet-savvy innovators are playing as they develop the future of healthcare

Easton LaChappelle

Easton, a 17-year old inventor, spoke recently at TEDxMileHigh about his 3D printing & animatronics project and the future of prosthetic & animatronic limbs. He started this work at age 14 and used the Internet to research and learn about electronics & sensor technologies, programming & modeling software, 3D printing & industrial design, and wireless networking. He’s now living in Houston and working at NASA on robotics projects. Read More …

Moore’s Law and The FUTURE of Healthcare

By Wayne Caswell, Founder of Modern Health Talk
Which Future

This article examines a future driven by Moore’s Law and the trend of circuits and components getting smaller, faster and cheaper exponentially over time and the eventual blending of science and technology (INFO + BIO + NANO + NEURO). I approach this topic from the unique perspective of an IBM technologist, market strategist, futurist, and consumer advocate. See About the Author and About Modern Health, below, to better understand what shaped this view of the future. You can also see my slide presentation and related articles & infographics at the bottom.

Which Future?

Futurists regularly consider alternative scenarios and examine factors that can steer the future in one direction or another. That way, clients can select a preferred version of the future and know what they might do to make that future happen.

It’s relatively easy to extrapolate past trends, assuming that nothing prevents those trends from continuing at the same rate, but will they? One can also look at what’s possible by tracking research lab activity and then estimating how long it will take to bring those new technologies to market.

But a potentially better approach is to start with a solid understanding of market NEEDS and what drives the development of solutions for them, or factors that inhibit solutions. Changes in politics and public policy, for example, can be a huge driver, with Obamacare as an example, or a huge inhibitor. That’s why I’m so interested in various healthcare reforms that accompany tech innovation. Read More …