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Reforming Delivery
Apple iWatch to Reshape Health Care?

Technology is daily reshaping the U.S. health care industry, changing delivery mechanisms in ways we sorely need. In Vox, Sarah Kliff profiles Figure 1, an app that allows doctors to crowdsource diagnostics by uploading pictures or descriptions of patients’ conditions to a server only other doctors can comment on. About 20 percent of medical residents have Figure 1 on their smartphones, and doctors who use it already report that it has aided them in making better and more accurate diagnoses—without having to order new tests or engage in formal, costly consultations.

Smartphone apps like Figure 1 can help doctors collaborate, but more revolutionary to the future of health care will be the way technology helps put more personalized data into the hands of care providers. Apple’s next product looks to corner that service in the same way its apps have enabled collaboration. Experts now believe that new health care technology may play a huge part in the marketing of Apple’s iWatch project. More, from the NYT:

Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., spent years negotiating with the music industry to get music sold legally on iTunes, which happened two years after the iPod went on sale. “I believe they’ve been doing that with the health market,” said Tim Bajarin, an analyst for the firm Creative Strategies […]

Mr. Bajarin of Creative Strategies believes Apple has been quietly working with many partners in the health industry to prepare for its health-monitoring watch. This year, when Apple introduced its new health-tracking tool kit, the company said it had been working closely with the Mayo Clinic and Epic Systems, a health care software company.

Whether through the iWatch or other means, highly personalized health care monitoring systems are almost certainly on the way, bringing with them the ability to treat patients more efficiently and at a lower cost. Doctors will have better information about patients’ conditions and catch illness before they become more expensive to treat. When you pair that with other tech innovations like Figure 1, you have a recipe for a much better health care system.

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  • rheddles

    Given security issues everywhere, I would prefer a system in which I keep the data on the collection device until I want to release it to a specific designee. Sooner or later this data will go to the insurance companies who will use it to adjust rates and which will be hacked.

  • Doug

    Read “Cell” by Robin Cook before you go out and buy an I-doc.

  • qet

    The preternatural obsession with “health care costs” and with bodily “health” generally in this country is already leading to this kind of thing becoming no longer voluntary, but mandatory. Iowa recently began requiring kids in school to wear heart monitors in gym class, not to protect those who might have an unknown heart ailment, but “to prevent slacking” (in the words of Slate). So be careful with how much enthusiasm you greet this sort of thing.

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