Recent developments in wearable tech and big data presents an ideal situation for a major disruption in the healthcare sector.
In Nigeria, where I live, people see a visit to the doctor, even if it’s just for a diagnosis, as the last option, not only because of the cost but also psychological reasons. It’s the reason why religion is a major purvey in our society. So, as a result, people prefer to self diagnose when there’s a problem with their health. Couple that with the generally high cost of health care, the frequency of disease outbreaks and the fact that governments are unable to meet the needs of people (mostly through poor leadership and corruption), and you see a major pain point for our society.
Thankfully, some tech trends are pointing towards a future where health care may become not only affordable, but ubiquitous in the form of self-service.
With a smartwatch monitoring your vitals, that data can be sent to health service providers who can send you medical advice, fitness instructions, drug prescriptions etc. The constant streaming of data makes sure your doctor is up to date on your body’s health. Startups can offer apps that will facilitate this constant data exchange between doctor and patient. Startups can stretch the idea even further have doctors in-house who can analyse the data and offer medical advice. They can charge a monthly subscription fee.
Wearable tech isn’t a new invention, as TechCrunch humorously pointed out with this tweet.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) November 25, 2015
But recent trends in the tech industry, especially as industry heavyweights like Apple and Samsung jump on the smartwatch train, point towards a future where wearables are a mainstay. That’s the first hurdle these wearable tech manufacturers must surmount – turning wearables into lifestyle gadgets, just like the mobile phone.
Not an easy task, just ask Google Glass. Let’s see how it goes.