In a recent interview with on Syracuse.com, Jessica Crawford of the MedTech Association offered some predictions about the future of medical technology and its impact on society. One important driving factor that she cited was the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which she points out has added millions of new patients to the healthcare insurance system, and those numbers are expected to grow. She highlighted the additional demands these new users place on an “already overburdened [healthcare] system.” As a result, we will need more innovation to deliver high quality care that is also cost-effective.
Crawford sees mobile medical technology in general — and wearables in particular — as playing a key role in these improvements. She cites the ability for residents in sparsely populated areas such as upstate New York to participate in clinical trials using smartphones as their link to their physicians and the researchers. This sort of study is already underway today, and she sees it leading directly to lower healthcare costs as well as improved treatment outcomes.
She also emphasizes the role of Big Data as a means of analyzing large amounts of personal patient data to improve “health outcomes, symptoms, health diagnoses, patient demographics and more.” This has the potential to save lives and improving the quality of life for patients. Other technologies will help customize healthcare while lowering costs, such as using 3D printers to custom-print devices specifically for individual users, from prosthetics, dental work, and hearing aids to replacement parts for internal organs.