TECHNOLOGY: Breakthroughs Transform Health Care Delivery
Medical advances like implantable, time-release insulin sacs and stair-climbing wheelchairs are just around the corner, the AP/Detroit Free Press reports. The British Medical Journal -- one of the 42 publications worldwide devoting editions this month to technology and medicine -- reports that "medicine appears likely to change more in the next 20 years than it has in the last 2000 -- mostly because of new technology." American Medical Association President Dr. Thomas Reardon, in London last week to help "launch the themed issues" of BMJ and JAMA, said, "Cures aren't really our final destination." Rather, "predicting and preventing diseases," mostly through technological advances that allow us to better understand our genes, "will be more of a focus than trying to diagnose and treat them." For example, a paper by Charles Wilson of the California-based Institute for the Future -- published in the British Medical Journal -- predicts that one driver of change will be sensors. Patients with irritable bowel syndrome will be able to detect "imminent diarrhea" with stomach sensors "and forestall it by pressing a drug-filled pouch under the skin." The advances "will not only be for the rich. They will become more simplified and will get less expensive. Home monitoring will be a huge savings," Wilson said (Ross, 11/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.