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 while on-the-go.
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 tandem 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 surprised to see an app in the future that would scan a room, small outside area, or object for bacteria and viruses. Technology that I envision using this would include a special camera and thermal detector (respectively, for a visual and temperature reading to match and contrast to normal surfaces), both integrated and built in a smartwatch and smartphone.
Regarding 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’s appointment, and to check for daily and weekly glucose levels, weight and body mass index, etc. to a better detailed and more structured scale than today.
More so, I believe that such an app would contain an ID that carries a patient’s health insurance and list of prescriptions (past and present), a GPS exclusively for finding the nearest hospital and doctor’s office nationally and internationally which can be launched quickly and without lag, and an emergency function in dire / life-threatening situations (which would require an injured user to perform a specific tap or voice command to call for an ambulance if alone and unattended). I can also see First Aid help being catalogued and initiated by voice command with simple keywords (“bleeding” or “choking”) for an immediate AI-voice guided helper to help someone tend to an injured victim.