CT&D #72. The Future of IT: Improving Healthcare

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How might information technology be used in the future to prevent disease and provide medical care either locally and/or globally?

The future of Information Technology in healthcare could go in many different, yet interesting ways. One such way I see it going in terms of disease prevention is more sophisticated apps being developed to monitor peoples’ health and environments they encounter.

As smartwatches are on the rise, the potential for apps to “read” the human body, whether by blood pressure or by other means (such as a peripheral worn elsewhere in tangent with the watch) could effectively warn wearers that they will be soon sick and contagious, therefore suggesting that they stay home or get adequate sleep. Furthermore, since the spread of germs is almost entirely undetected and invisible within the air, solids and fluids, I wouldn’t be skeptical to see an app in the future that would scan a room, small outside area, or object for bacteria and viruses. Technology that I see using this would include a special camera and thermal detector (respectively, for visual and temperature reading to match and contrast to normal surfaces), both integrated and built in a smartwatch and smartphone.

As far as healthcare coverage and reachability, I expect complete health records for an individual to be made easily accessible in one app. Currently, iPhones already have a health app that permits users to input little information (mainly stats regarding height, weight, allergies, medical issues). However, I anticipate a better app that allows doctors to upload a complete report of a patient’s physical checkup, with notifications and reminders being set up to alert patients of an upcoming doctor appointment, to check for daily/weekly glucose levels, weight/ body mass index, etc.

More so, I believe that such an app would contain an ID that carries the patient’s health insurance, a GPS exclusively for finding the nearest hospital/doctor’s office nationally and internationally, and an emergency function in dire situations (which would require the user to perform a specific tap or voice command to call for an ambulance).

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