There’s been a trend over the past ten years or so to demonize big tech as being monopolistic and overly self-important. But I wonder how many of us actually consider the positive things big tech does for all of us by the very nature of its size. One area where it’s been greatly beneficial to all of us is the world of healthcare and well-being. Medical science changes constantly. As we grow and learn, it’s a case of out with the old, in with the new. That’s how science works (thankfully).
But in the last decade, treatment options have been made much easier by dint of the today’s high tech world. If there’s one trend that will always be predictable, it’s that our technology will change alongside health care.
Let’s face it. Phones are now ‘Smart’, cars are easier to drive than ever, and computers have become lighter, faster and smaller. This rate of growth has also helped to speed to course of our own better health in ways we might not always think of:
- Teleradiology tech companies continue to streamline their processes, allowing information to be passed to and fro much faster, this in turn allows for speedier diagnosis. At the very least, it can extend the life of the patient. At its brightest, it can save lives.
- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has reported that, over the next fifteen years, “intensification through improved management and technologies will be the main, indeed virtually the only, source of production growth” in many parts of the world.
- In February, the New York Times reported that clean water tech appears to be about to benefit farmers in California and the mid-West.
For anyone directly involved with healthcare, massive aggregation of data and numerous individual component developments are integral, and today’s information technology is improving upon that paradigm. Patients that must proactively control blood sugar, caloric intake and other vitals need to convey readings to a centralized source for storage and later analysis. With today’s scientific and technological breakthroughs, all biometric data can be stored on a watch or instantly transferred to personal doctors.
Age Appropriate Tech?
As baby boomers are retiring from their careers in the workplace, they have begun to engage, learn and interact with new types of technology. Companies and corporations have taken notice, and have begun manufacturing different types of technology that allow us to lead happier, healthier lives.
Seniors that own smartphones treat them as regular companions; thanks to technology, these smartphones can be used in many ways to promote safety. There are personal safety apps that will raise an alert and distress signal to either a programmed group of people or even those present near you in case of an emergency. That’s how far we’re coming.
Seniors tend to develop mind-altering disorders in their later stages of life. Dementia, Parkinson’s disease and general forgetfulness cause once responsible seniors to wander off, give money to those who aren’t related to them and develop other mentally debilitating disorders.
With GPS tracking technology being developed to assist those in need, loved ones can always know exact where their grandmother, parent or senior citizen siblings are at all times, regardless of where they are.
And infants with health-related issues are also benefiting. In the last few years, researchers have stated that computer vision systems that automatically track body movement in infants help to diagnose disorders like autism.
All of this begs the question, what’s not to like about Big Tech?
So where is “big tech” headed when it comes to improving the quality of our life? I reached out to a few companies whose names crossed my radar over last few months.
According to Robert R. Jones, M.D., ophthalmology is one of the most technology intensive specialties in the medical field. “To obtain excellent results,” he said, “ophthalmologic microsurgery must be very precise and often involves lasers. Technology is the reason refractive surgery has revolutionized eye care in the last two decades. And it can only improve ten-fold as we develop more sophisticated tools.”
“Technology for water sustainability is going to be increasingly important, said Robert Dalessandro, Director of Cleanawater. “Reduction of water use and trade waste, durability, recycling systems that suit all industries and that are built to last will be at the top of the list.
David Payne PA-C, PA Program Director at the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, provided some insights for us into IT’s mergence with health: “With the empowerment potential information technology now provides, we have arrived at the point where it is no longer excusable to do anything less than fully apply its use in medical education. Students should be empowered with technology from day one. As new graduates, they should be wholly comfortable with rapidly finding high quality evidence-based information and then applying that information to the unique care of individual patients.”
One rather archaic, but extremely useful, piece of medical technology continues to evolve in 2014, too: the microscope. Without this microorganism viewing tool, many life-saving medications may have failed to exist up to this point. ”Microscopes have enabled us to decode the very essence of Life in DNA,” said Charles S. Crookenden, president of Microscope.com, “and arguably, no single technology has contributed more to preserving society’s health over the past century.”
As Crookenden pointed out during a recent interview, the microscope has been and continues to be a core enabling technology within medicine without which few medical innovations would occur. ”There’s long been a distinct separation between health and technology,” continues Crookenden. “Although hospitals have used high tech equipment for a long time, people still think of “staying healthy” as something natural. The reality is, new technology has a lot to offer when trying to improve people’s lifestyles and encourage healthier living.”
You might be wondering how technological innovations today could possibly be better for your health tomorrow…we’re all going to find out soon enough.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: How Big Tech Shapes Our Health
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