As important as it is to take care of one’s health, it is equally important to keep up with technological developments taking place in the field of healthcare. Only a century ago, narcotics were administered as painkillers while advanced surgical operations were simply not possible, leading patients to have a hard time understanding their conditions and do something about it. Today, whether it be walking into a drugstore to buy aspirin, reserving a place at a local heart surgery clinic to undergo an angiogram or obtaining a mobility aid for freedom of movement, healthcare products and procedures have become significantly easier and drastically more functional for all.
There used to be a time when people used to say that space is the final frontier. Today, the same saying goes for healthcare technologies and according to an article by Sai Balasubramanian for The Huffington Post, the future beholds further promises and possibilities. As modern day technology and centralized healthcare systems converge further on, the results provide a more integrated and developed approach to human health issues. Balasubramanian points out how IBM’s Watson platform was “first developed by the company as a query-response system which could digest and synthesize substantial amounts of data in order to respond to delineated queries,” but would later help completely revolutionize the database systems used in modern day healthcare systems. The Watson Health model houses “advanced cognitive capabilities” that can “read 200 million pages of text in 3 seconds” along with an advanced capability to synthesize large quantities of unstructured data to predict patterns and provide diagnosis.
Ethical concerns always fuel philosophical debate and the given issue has induced such thoughts on CNN’s Meera Senthilingam to ask the question ‘technology is changing the way you see a doctor, but is that good for your health?’ The author begins her article by referring to a specific case involving a 27 years old Charlie Latuske in the United Kingdom, who had a sore throat and general malaise for quite some time as he was resting in his Surrey home, desperately needing a doctor to get a diagnosis. Latuske’s wife was prepared for the situation and recommended that he would join the ‘Push Doctor’ network where “he could see a doctor within the hour virtually … for a fee of £30 ($38),” leading him to discover that he had tonsillitis within 20 minutes. An hour later, the man was ready to go on vacation as the couple had planned, packed with the necessary antibiotics and painkillers to accompany him on his journey. Senthilingam states that last year, the application helped treat “more than 1000 different conditions” with most of such people obtaining the desired result the very first time.
Discussing an issue without providing specific insights and examples is always a problematic approach and this is why considering Emily Reynolds’ article for The Guardian is a good idea at this point. The author discusses the ways “how health tech could help in the early diagnosis of dementia” and describes dementia as “a public health concern and can be difficult and expensive to detect,” while also heralding the fact that “innovative technology is being developed to tackle the condition.” As the UK society faces 209,000 new cases of dementia annually, the condition has overtaken “heart disease, lung cancer and stroke as the leading cause of death” in the country. Luckily, there are those seeking solutions. A good example is Cognetivity’s recent project that utilizes latest AI technology and neuroscientific research findings to integrate them in a cutting edge new software, which will be used for detecting dementia at the condition’s earliest development stages. The system is referred to as “a quick and simple cognitive test” currently but as research continues at its current pace, its applications will provide more than answers on a test for sure.