Unified Field Theory redux or The Internet of Things: Healthcare

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Is it all falling apart or is it finally coming together or is it all coming together dangerously fast? In the international banking executive briefings that I attend, usually as a moderator, better received are the discussions that portray technology trends in the financial sector within the context of “what are others doing?”

These others often include an examination of the success stories in retail such as the Apple Retail Store; uses of technology in education and training. Overall, most briefing clients are interested in what trends and likely outcomes influence the clients of US banks.

This and the two following blog posts summarize what I’ve observed will affect the behaviors of the clients of US banks which, in turn, will affect what banks do. What banks do is important to each of us even if few of us are enamored with our bank.

Healthcare: I attended a Duke University medical conference in April with a broad range of senior and experienced industry representatives. How dire is the healthcare funding model in the US? $40 trillion to 60 trillion unfunded is a safe range for analysis. How much is that? One million seconds will pass in the next 12 days; 1 trillion seconds will pass in the next 33,000 years making unlikely our capability to save for this eventuality. Prevention, thereby reducing need, is the sole solution for this particular fiscal cliff as much sooner than later we will be out of money for correcting what ails people.

Prevention will take 3 forms: 1) Home Healthcare. Examples were offered where insurance firms proactively fund home modification, e.g. moving the bedroom from upstairs to the main level of the home before the accident. Such a measure is less expensive than repairing the injuries that result from contending with stairs at an advanced age. 2) Mobile Medical Devices. Our phones (I wonder how much longer that they will be used for voice conversations) track where we are, like it or not; they may as well track how we are and they are plenty of such apps in either in Apple or Android Stores for using our mobile phones to measure elements of our individual health. Just as “ET phoned home”, our phones will monitor us and call for help before we even know that we need to. 3) Genomic Mapping. It’s almost a matter of ‘Privacy be Damned’ but there is no point in waiting until we’re too old to navigate the stairs or for the cell phone to contact the hospital if a predisposition to a serious ailment could be avoided. There will have to be many changes in employment laws and a wholesale reformation of insurance regulations to give the individual confidence in such sensitive revelations. To the MDs in the Duke audience, this mapping approach will be the most effective in providing care for all without requiring it all.