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Our Mind-blowing Healthcare Future

Our Mind-blowing Healthcare Future

Like it or not - the time has arrived

The future of healthcare is all about you - right down to your DNA.
One-size-fits-all medicines will be replaced by 3D-printed drugs designed to work with your one-of-a-kind body. Robotic personal healthcare companions will reside in your home to make sure you’re taking your medicine and recovering well. Fitness trackers, ingestibles and implants will continuously monitor you to keep an eye out for signs of disease or other health issues.
These great advances all depend on a tiny army of sensors recording your data and networks that can handle the vast amounts of health data that every person will generate.

How we’ll be generating data:

Wearables: It’s estimated that the entire wearables market will double by 2022, with health-tracking smart watches taking 60 percent of the sales.
Here are some other biometric wearables to keep an eye on:
  • Smart textiles: New fabrics that have tiny sensors woven into them will be able to monitor everything from temperature to bacterial levels on the skin. One example being developed is smart socks, which help people with diabetic neuropathy avoid foot ulcers.
  • Smart tattoos: Also known as “in-the-skinabbles” or “tattooables,” these devices are actually inserted into your skin to monitor different medical conditions that normal wearables can’t, such as blood glucose levels.
  • Ingestibles: In the next 5-10 years we’ll begin to see devices that patients swallow for temporary monitoring of conditions that are hard to pinpoint in their early stages, such as signs of sepsis after surgery.
  • Smart thread: What if a suture could report back to your doctor on how your surgical wound is healing? Researchers are working on inserting microscopic sensors into surgical thread to alert doctors if your body chemistry is out of balance.
Mobile devices: Our smartphones rarely leave our sides and can store a surprising amount of health data on people’s diets, exercise levels, menstrual cycles, weight fluctuations - and even mental health. Perhaps more importantly, they also serve as wireless body area networks (WBANs) that can send information from your wearables back to a health care monitoring service or medical team.
Implants: What if you could implant a device that could not only report your health data, but also help you get healthy again? Current implants in the trial stages include brain stimulators for patients with epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease, pain management implants, and a variety of mental health conditions. Smart pacemakers and other cardiac implants that report on a patient’s heart health are already on the market.

How private is your health data, anyway?

All these devices are producing huge amounts of very personal data - data that the healthcare industry isn’t entirely equipped to handle in a secure way. Many established medical devices already have security protocols in place, but a lot of wearables don’t.
Another issue is that connected wearables aren’t necessarily HIPAA compliant. Data infrastructure companies are working hard to solve these problems: By 2025, the overall electronic health records (EHR) market is projected to be worth more than $38 billion.

What’s next

Our healthcare system is at the very earliest stages of getting plugged in.
Whether you’re a hospital CIO or simply a patient tracking your pulse on your watch, it’s good to proactively assess the security risks of any networked monitoring device you’ll be using. Because if your wearable sends unencrypted health data through the internet - and someone hacks into that data and replaces it with faulty diagnostics - it can literally become a matter of life or death.
See how HP® is fueling the future of healthcare with safe, smart and secure devices.
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