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John Patrick @ DACS
John Patrick @ DACS. Photo by Ken Graff

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On May 6th, the Danbury Area Computer Society (DACS) held it’s monthly meeting, and it was an honor to give a talk there about The Future of Healthcare and the Internet. This was the twenty-second year that I had shared my thoughts with DACS. The meeting was open to the public and took place in the auditorium at Danbury Hospital. Following is a review of my talk that was written by Stephen D. Harkness.



DACS General Meeting
May 2014
Meeting Review:
Dr. John Patrick’s DACS Presentation

By Stephen D. Harkness

Like our 21 previous presentations by John Patrick, this one was a very thought provoking eye-opener. I have taken notes on John’s past 5 presentations and I made sure to review each of them before this one, in order to appreciate the mind-boggling progress the world of healthcare automation has made just in the past few years. Here is a synopsis of what I heard during his enlightening presentation this past month…

The Power of the Click… the economic size of U.S. retail sales is 4 trillion dollars and only 5% of it or $200 billion is actually done online, what John appropriately calls “e-tailing”. That’s eye opening because, as John says, “we are only just beyond the initial stage of implementing online retail sales”. And it’s amazing that such a large percentage of that e-tailing business today, 10-15%, belongs to only one company… Amazon. As online retail methods become easier and more cost effective, e-tailing growth will surely skyrocket.

The personal healthcare revolution is just beginning… your personal blood draw tester can now immediately transmit data to the lab, with the resulting analysis results transmitted and displayed back to your online tester showing your 5 different blood measurements. Seventeen of our 50 states say your medical data is yours; the other 33 states need to do the same. The laws are changing, giving all of us a better chance to build, manage and keep track of our own medical status. We are now able to more readily choose our various personal healthcare service agents by providing them with our most up-to-date personal medical data. That also lowers the cost to those doctors and services because they won’t have to do duplicate testing nor will they have to spend time accessing our records from other sources.

Massive changes are coming in healthcare… patient centered medical treatment at home, accountable care organizations, medical devices for consumers, home health monitoring and micro arrays for personalized medicine.

The “speed of healthcare ergonomics” is increasing… this is the applied science concerned with human characteristics that need to be considered when designing automated healthcare devices and treatments for maximum effectiveness and safely. This science is increasing just as fast or faster than the growth of the internet through the entrepreneurial development of e-labs, e-imaging studies, e-prescriptions, e-dispensing of medications and smart ambulances. With our online and fiber-optic backbone growing throughout the world, we need to ensure that “Net Neutrality” is protected and made global for all types of people to use and experience. Privatization by individual service entities would be a roadblock to patients being able to get the best medical services at the best price.

Personal medical status readings and activations… for instance “cardioNet” looks like a pendant and measures your heart beats. Asthmapolis is a company that has developed a small device that attaches to an inhaler to prompt a user with asthma on a required action. Boxee TV is like Firefox for computers. Apple TV is developing a 3-button remote that is intuitive to what the user is trying to accomplish using TV windowing… so there is a day coming when we will finally be able to get rid of those 50-button TV remotes. Today there are 7 billion phones; 30% are smart phones. The growth rate in retail is attributed to iPads. And the apps on mobile devices are better than those on the websites.

New technological break-throughs… Fifty years ago, the first supercomputer, the Cray, was developed by Seymour Cray, weighed 5 tons and didn’t play music. Today’s iPhone4S surpasses the Cray in all functionality. A newly created computer chip, the M7, can measure motion; finger print readers are now common place; and AliveCor has developed a computer that performs a 30 second EKG for $40 that you can annotate. SmartCARD (smartphone Cholesterol Application for Rapid Diagnostics) extracts a drop of blood, the camera takes a photo of it, then tells you your cholesterol numbers. The new CellScope Oto measures and records your ear infection diagnosis. The Giraff is a home-resident robot with a camera and screen that the doctor can use in an online consultation with you, and it records the results into your medical history. Many of these innovations will be transferring money away from doctors and hospitals and into the e-retail sector.

The social media revolution is not just social… but is developing e-referral services and websites like “PatientsLikeMe” to enhance self-diagnosis. “Isabel” is an app that identifies your symptoms, uses differential diagnostics, gives you a diagnostic table of information and has a 95% accuracy rate to give your doctor a head-start on your diagnosis.

All this is not easy… every medical facility and service needs to communicate the medications that each person uses. Services like Dropbox, Google, iCloud and Amazon are busy developing the infrastructure methods for managing, distributing and securing all this data.

Trust will be a big criteria for success… can we trust the internet?… security is continuously being redefined… privacy policy is in its infancy. We need to block bad things from happening with technology, not laws. Magnetic strip credit cards are not secure. Business policies need to be renovated. Prices for medical services need to be more standardized and more appropriately set depending upon the required procedure rather than who is getting the service.

The world of health services… is rapidly developing products and techniques for people to be able to rely on trust-based medical systems.