|By David Hackleman; David Hackleman|
Imagine getting a telephone call from your favorite pharmacy asking you to pick up a prescription for an antibiotic to cure the trace of pneumonia that was detected in your nightly full health test relayed from your Health-O-Watch integral bed monitor system.
With elements of science and technology now being developed, this can indeed be a possible future for us all.
We have long known the specific vectors that cause many of mankind's maladies. Techniques to identify such elements are used today in laboratory diagnosis.
Coupling these techniques with a system integrated into your bed requires development of sensors and the means to send the information from your body to the medical office. So what, pray tell, is missing? The key elements to complete this picture are the probes and the sensors.
If we as a nation were to focus a portion of our incredible engineering talent in this direction, the first products should arrive on the market in just a few years. By 2020, the entire health industry would be substantially different from that which we see today. Will it happen?
Is it only a simple matter of vested interests battling application of science, interests who don't want change? Practically all fields of profit rely upon the delivery of a valuable good or service to a demand. When the opportunity for a new method arrives on the horizon, some people - often the potential users of the technology and advancement - are excited with the hope of a better future. At the same time, others, eking out their existence through commerce involved in the existing technology, may view such new opportunities as threats to their livelihood.
If this "bed sensor" were delivered to households in America, what would be some of the ramifications? Manufacturers would need to redesign their beds to accommodate the new sensors. Internet companies would need to develop secure channels to commute the sensory information to appropriate (and not inappropriate) receivers, such as medical organizations.
Aha! Suddenly we discover one nagging problem. Even simple sensory information received from your breath while you sleep could be used for a more sinister plan. Many of us remember George Orwell's novel in which Big Brother constantly watches over us to ensure we behave. Naturally, any system that can convey direct physiological information about a single human being could be routed to such a sinister process.
We must consider that there would be a major difference in the cost of medical treatment. If an illness is identified early, and if there is a known cure, the cure would cost less. Large stockpiles of medicine would not need to be stored at every hospital, pharmacy and doctor's office just in case someone arrived with a particular disease.
This means that fewer medications would expire on the shelf and fewer would be dumped in municipal waste systems instead of being metabolized by patients.
It's possible that in the case of something like pneumonia, for example, the malady would be contained to one individual and stopped within a few days of the contraction of the disease. In addition, since the sensory information would identify other victims, an outbreak would be quenched at the onset. Could we eradicate pneumonia? Possibly - that is, if it isn't indigenous to the human body.
Such an approach of stopping maladies at the onset could dramatically turn the tables on a great deal of the medical and health professions and business. Instead of the current practice of learning about all the diseases known to mankind and then through in- office and lab-test evaluations, selecting the cure to apply, medical professionals would be primarily either administering doses or researching new unknown diseases discovered in sensor events worldwide.