@rick , it might happen faster than we think. Theranos is developing a lab-on-a-chip platform that would enable testing for multiple proteins for cheap(tens of dollars). They already offer some tests to the public probably at walgreen, standard , cheaper blood tests, with only a pin prick o blood .
And the vision of theranos is to offer disease monitoring.
If the protiens that predict heart attacks are known , it might be a relatively short process to get it to market since you don't need to do clinical trials only tests that show your device measures accurately.
I can imagine that people with high risk would go do a biweekly or weekly tests.
An article about eric topol , discovering CEC cells predict heart attack , and there is a protein profile for CEC cells. http://healthland.time.com/2012/03/22/scientists-devise-a-blood-test-to-predict-heart-attack/
Theranos really sounds like a company that can transform healthcare.
"In a note to me Topol said he believes that with the rise of digital health care 'the role of hospitals would be changed/limited to ICUs, operating rooms and procedure rooms.'"
True enough, and in fact, that trend has already been happening. Which is why I don't find this all that surprising of change. There are now many tests people can do on their own, even without the assistance of a smartphone, that once required a visit to the doctor's office. And more on the way. Any number of heart and blood tests can be done at home already. Good deal.
But still, much new medical tech is going to hospitals, to improve medical care, but not really geared at reducing labor content. I'm sure the AMA is dragging their collective heels at some of this innovation. I'm looking forward to when you never need to visit with a doctor at all, unless you have to get something physically fixed. You know, much like built-in diagnostics in a car reduces unnecessary downtime AND makes the mechanic's job easier when his intervention is required.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly said digital medicine would "eradicate" hospitals and make them "obsolete."
This was an exaggeration of what the keynoter, Eric Topol, said. In a note to me Topol said he believes that with the rise of digital health care "the role of hospitals would be changed/limited to ICUs, operating rooms and procedure rooms."
I was aiming to echo the phrase "eradicate disease" and stretched the speaker's concept to the breaking point. My apologies for the exaggeration.
Rick, the term 'eradicate' is indeed a strong one. The value-add from sensors & monitoring thereof comes from a wealth of data these gadgets can collect and help the physician to make diagnosis and treatment. There are many such monitoring data that are otherwise almost impossible for the physician / med tech to collect in real time, some of it during the occurence of the medical condition itself (for eg., the EEG ichtal data collection in real time that I wrote about last year):
I don't think it's such a long way, actually, at least for the testing aspects of medicine that doctors' offices or hospitals do. Sure, if you need surgery, you'll still need to have someone cut you open. It's the stuff before surgery that could be streamlined considerably.
I totally agree with the notion that medicine is "stuck in the 1960s," although even that has been slowly changing. One reason why medical care is so expensive, and always becoming more so, is that it's not exploiting the digital revolution like other industries have been. Education and medicine are still amazingly labor-intensive. That's what has to change. If the CE industry were similarly still labor intensive, we'd all be living more like in the 1950s.
I'd agree with ANON above.....self-monitoring might save you going to the doctor, and possibly you could get an electronic prescription for any needed medicine....but if you need to be cut open and fixed, I think the hospital's going to be around for a bit. Say you're in an accident and broke some bones, or need open heart surgery or even an appendix removed. How will you do that without hospitals?