Posted by: prataap | January 20, 2008

CUSTOMIZATION TREND 5: Medicine: Pills No More


MEDICINE

Pills No More

Swallow the Chip and Don’t Call

Emerging Trends:

As new frontiers of preventive and diagnostic medicine are explored, computer chips have already been implanted or  swallowed by researchers experimenting on how to monitor body functions, cancer cells etc., to retrieve precise information on what exact amount of medication or nutrients are needed by the body.  

Various forms of monitoring systems such as programmable tattoos that constantly display insulin levels for diabetes patients, for example, are in the works at Interval Research an R&D firm owned by Paul Allen (Wired 1997) and others like LifeShirt can monitor various indicators from blood pressure and insulin levels and then download that data on to your PDA and pass it on to your doctor or even release the appropriate level of medication into your system. Japanese toilet maker, Toto, is ready to ship toilets that diagnose, the “smart bowel”, and will even send that data directly to your doctor. DNA testing will be a routine diagnostic test, like MRI or CAT scan, within 5 years. And a great many people will ultimately benefit from it, but our current health care system, will initially ration this for the few who can afford the price tag. At the start this level of highly nuanced, truly customized health care will only be for the very rich.

At the onset the vast majority of people will find the concept of implanted computer chips ethically unpalatable and see it as tampering with nature and a debate will ensue similar to today’s battles over genetically engineered food and stem cell research.

Next Opportunities:

Real opportunities you ask?  Yes they exist!   Especially at HMOs where doctors might see scores of patients in a day and are too busy to discuss anything in detail, increasingly more people are turning to the Internet to fill in the blanks. And as the trend of people opting for alternative medicine and preventive care continues, people will want to take charge.  For a start, they will want ways to make sense of the overload of conflicting information available, and how to chose and manage their health care options.

The burgeoning billion dollar health food/alternate medicine industry is a testament to that. Some of the most popular web sites will be those that give clear, credible answers and provide options (there is a lot of Internet snake oil available)  to complex health care questions. The Ask Beths of the Internet for medical problems already exist, Dr Koop is one. So far, none has a brand that stands out as the leading source of information and advice. A Dr.ClearingHouse.com is soon bound to be the next healthcare web home run. Watch out for that IPO. And what else may be around the corner? Sites like eBay or Priceline to find the least expensive organ recharge, and more experimental chip implants that can diagnose and treat cancer cells before they begin to think about becoming rogue cells. These may well be auctioned off at secret underground web sites as experimental treatments well before they become FDA approved.

Now with DNA testing there is the option of delaying or speeding up the aging process using the diagnostic tests and techniques of newly customized medical care. Once again, aside from marketing the technology, a wealth of opportunities lie in services that can help coordinate medical options with personalized legal, life style, and financial counsel to help the customer make sense of all the choices and their implications. Already the first generation of full package spas serving personalized nutrition, yoga, and spirituality are the rage from Kripalu to Canyon Ranch. Some first generation sites already exist online. Familycareamerica.com provides elderly or chronically ill and their family members personalized advice based on personal profiles.

Next, advice on what would be the best-customized option for each of us based on a much more comprehensive profile. In  the terminology of the future, Personal Care will replace Health Care. People are finally seen in totality after the genome and brain projects completely unravel the human mystery.  The next search then begins, to decipher the human soul.

Real opportunities could come in various forms of medical health sites combined with personal growth. Think of a CPA, MD, coach, legal counsel, therapist, spiritual counseling service all packaged together as one or combined to suit your needs. Medical and non-medical professional collaborations and partnerships for a truly holistic personal care package!  Create personalized care/growth options. Your customized team. Team You.

And extreme Self-Care packages will be the next highly sought after form of self actualization.  Deepak meets Dr.Phil meets Martha.  Relax and take a deep breath and say Om !

Let your imagination run wild.

Create the future and smell the roses, it’s your move!

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