Imagine what health care would be like if the Internet of Things were fully functional today. The Internet of Things (IoT) also called the Internet of Everything is a network of objects some physical and other are not embedded with electronics, software or sensors connected together enabling an exchange of data. The IoT allows objects to communicate across existing network infrastructures, creating opportunities for more direct integration between the physical objects and computer systems resulting in increased efficiencies, accurate transitions and improved outcomes.
Every man, woman, child and animal could be injection with Nano particles. These particle would circulate and embed themselves in every system and organism throughout the body. Nano particles would provide feedback on every aspect of physical and mental wellbeing including; a child’s development, microbiome matrix, cerebral activity, musculoskeletal system, and internal organs.
Imagine having all that data in one usable location. Whatever you eat, you’d have a complete readout of the nutritional content. When you’re working out you’d have access to all your vitals. This data would inform you as to how many calories you can eat during your next meal so you don’t over eat and if you do, you’ll receive information accordingly. Information like if you continue this level of food consumption you’ll gain X amount weight in X number of days. The data would inform on the additional damage done to your human system by adding that additional weight.
Your Nano particles would inform you when you came in contact with a virus and what you needed to do to prevent infection. If you became ill, you’d receive information specific to you on best recovery methods. This data would be accessible from any smart device in real time, compiled in usable formats based on your settings and uploaded to whomever or where ever you choose. The key is it’s your data, which you own and control. Configuring the data so that it’s displayed in a usable format is as simple as configuring any computer device.
When will these types of health care products and services become available, maybe never? The technology is rapidly becoming available and intelligent minds are dreaming up ideas for its use, however there are three major obstacles towards progress; security, monopolistic behavior and a fear of tackling big things.
Go Big or Go Home
The fall of the dot-com bubble took with it all hopes and dreams of accomplishing anything bigger than next quarter’s results. During the second half of the 90’s the internet was poised to be and create the next big thing. Entrepreneurs were making grand plans for future innovations. The potential of the internet made everything seem possible. Investors were investing millions into internet startups on speculations. It was a time of definite optimism.
Within less than a decade the tech bubble and the housing bubble both collapsed, the latter setting off a global recession. The tech bubble and the housing bubble shared only one thing in common speculation drove both booms to collapse. Both bubbles were vastly different in scope. The dot-com bubble was driven by a fever to create something big, eBay, Amazon, Apple and Napster. Although, Napster would eventually run afoul of the law, there is no denial that it’s music sharing platform is the basis for how we listen to music online today. There were many failures during the dot-com boom. They all shared one philosophy, go big or go home.
Contrasting the dot-com boom with the housing boom, the housing boom was caused by speculation over housing price appreciation and a higher form of financial math. The housing boom punch Main Street in the gut. The tech boom merely slapped Wall Street across the face.
The reason corporate coffers are over flowing with cash is they fear another over optimistic tech boom. The tech boom was a time when the entrepreneurial spirit was beaming with a definite optimism of creating economic paradigm shifts. The market collapse that followed left behind, a mass of uncertainty, resulting in a fear of doing anything on a grand scale. Corporate cash is socked away because corporate executive and politicians don’t possess the desire to tackle major projects. They are optimistic about the future, but they lack the definiteness to risk major plans.
Twenty years ago, the former first lady, former senator and former secretary of state was working to overhaul the U.S. health care system. A monumental task at the time and a major challenge today. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who believes that health care in the country was fixed by the passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obama care). Flawed as it is, there hasn’t been one credible plan put forward to make correction or rectify errors. Obama care flawed as it may be took 40 years to be signed into law. Twenty years before first lady Hillary Clinton tried to create a dialogue about health care, President Richard Nixon attempted to pass the same health care law President Obama was able to pass. Forty years is too long an incubation cycle. We can’t keep kicking the can down the road, or can we.
Lessons learned from the dot-com boom, incremental changes are better than major changes. Improve on your competitive market position, don’t create anything new. Today’s entrepreneurs talk in terms of conquering market shares and creating competitive advantages. They are generally wrong in their assessments of both. The success of a new idea is based on its viral acceptance (see Kim K.).
Lean business methodology rule today. Being lean equate to staying flexible, experiment with customer taste, don’t plan too big, and only make incremental changes. Globalization is better than technology for growth (see viral acceptance). Incremental strategies must be backed up by incremental data collection. Being lean means you must be able to change directions quickly, as soon as the data reveals a shift in some customer metric. Think of lean business methodology as a caterpillar, matriculating along safely and indefinitely headed some place.
Entrepreneurs are no Match for Monopolies
The second major obstacle to progress is monopolistic behavior. Monopolies can slow innovations to allow maximum utilization of current business processes. Health care systems in this country operate as an oligopoly enterprise rather than dueling competitive entities. Oligopoly is a market form in which an industry is dominated by a small number of sellers (oligopolists). Oligopolies can result from various forms of collusion which reduce competition and create barriers to new innovative ideas.
New technology would threaten the existing business processes of the existing system of care, it is in the current health care system benefit to impede progress. Nano technology would radically change the system of care and place controls into the hands of the consumer, away from the current health care industry.
The monopolist or oligopolist aren’t motivated by new technology to improve health outcomes because they do not fear competition. They might be motivated to squash new technology or even buy up new tech startups to eliminate them from the market. Or they may adapt new technology reducing their marginal cost without passing along those savings to their consumers.
Nano technology in the hands of consumers (patients) would increase outcome efficiencies, creating greater demand for consumer oriented health care technologies. Entrepreneurs would need to develop other technological advances producing even greater outcome efficiencies at cheaper prices. Cheaper prices would mean more savings for consumers. The IOT of health would create greater health benefits for consumers, which spurs more entrepreneurs to create for those excess dollars. In the long term new technologies usually find their way into the market and break up monopolistic holds on the market.
Fool Proof Security
The final barrier to Nano particle technology is security. It must be stated that post baby boomers view of internet security is different than baby boomers. Baby boomers believe they should be able to put the internet into some sort lock box and feel totally secure. There is no such thing. If we’ve learned anything this year it should be that all network systems can be hacked.
Technological protocols transported via the internet can’t be totally secured from hackers. I believe the best form of security in the information age is decentralization of information. Consumers should demand ownership of their data, then secure it personally. Hackers tend to attack massive centralized data sources rendering everyone’s data vulnerable. It is more time consuming for hackers to attack individual data accounts. Although, individual attacks would likely produce more valuable information since the need to decode the data would be less cumbersome. None the less it would be more time consuming.
We should demand more transparency from those we allow access to our data. We should require them to delete any and all personal information from their servers in a timely manner. We can always upload the data for use with any provider we deem necessary. Instead of being afraid of data security, we should focus on data privacy. Consumer information privacy rights should be standard operating practices throughout the country.
IOT of Health Care
Entrepreneurs must forgo vertical integrative scales of operation in favor of lateral integration. The IOT of health care technologies should be developed for the consumer markets, not for the existing health care industries. There are a multitude of existing technologies in use today which allow communication between parties seeking to transmit data. Efforts to recreate the wheel so to speak, is a wasted time consuming endeavor. Especially, in light of existing platforms. These existing platforms are as secure as any that could be created in the future. Additionally, time spent creating new information transmission methods robs the intellectual properties of developing useful technologies for transmission.
Lastly, Nano technology adoption would shift the paradigm of health care globally. So called artificial intelligent (AI) applications are coming online daily. AI computing is helping to improve treatment diagnoses. However, why utilize AI technology on diagnoses. Prevention AI technology is consumer oriented. Consumers want to prevent illnesses before they occur or lesson their possibilities. Consumers want to be more proactive, not reactive. Nano technology offers consumer an opportunity to control their health systems.