Software Vs Hardware: Will healthcare diagnostics go the way of the compass, the flashlight, and the game console?

Software Vs Hardware

This begs the question for me how the “Internet of things” will play out. What are the “things” that the Internet will connect to. Will they be smart cameras, thermostats, and doorbells or will all of those things run on our phones in time? And how will that be made possible?

This also makes me wonder about the health care diagnostic sector. Will I be able to take my blood pressure, blood chemistry, xray, cat scan, MRI, on my phone? Those last ones are kind of crazy, I know, but I am just aksing the question to make a point. Will healthcare diagnostics go the way of the compass, the flashlight, and the game console?

I don’t know the answers to these questions I am asking. But it sure does seem that entrepreneurs are finding ways to do things with software and a smartphone that used to require dedicated hardware at a rapid pace these days. I think this is a trend to pay attention to. And it may, over time, make investing in hardare based business less necessary. Which would be a good thing from my perspective

Software vs Hardware by Fred Wilson, Principal of Union Square Ventures

My thoughts:

> Forget about the “Moves app that’s turned phones into activity trackers” and look to Japan where this functionality went native 5 years ago even on the most basic easy to use (Raku Raku) mobiles used by senior citizens. Samsung’s success with S Health will give you an idea of the speed with which a big mobile brand can mainstream mHealth by taking apps native.

> Healthcare (Medical Device and Pharma) convergence to the newest mass media will define this decade as convergence of consumer tech (and a single brand) defined the last.

> As the Smartphone Physical demonstrated you can already do valuable medical diagnostic tests with your mobile phone (eg. share a comprehensive medical history, capture and share your ECG, log a detailed Urinalysis test, connecting prosthetics, sleep monitoring, etc)

> There is currently a disconnect between people who have the most expensive latest smartphones and those who would be able to get most value from using them to capture medical data. We should do everything we can to change this unfortunate reality (teach the seniors you care for to text today!) but even today embedded connectivity is such an insignificant cost (it’s cheap enough for the water meter in the road outside your home) in contrast to the cost of a single avoidable hospital admission that this will be the route by which we will first connect medical devices.

Patients with diabetes are the first major group of Patients to have started adopting embedded medical sensors at scale – read here to get an understanding of how Telcare’s Mobile Connected Glucometer service is leading this shift – and the success of this model will no doubt be used to build out the business case for healthcare payers to justify the next embedded medical devices (think Blood Pressure monitors, weigh scales, INR monitors, wheel chair, childs cot, etc, that just work seamlessly to populate your medical records and provide you with instantaneous feedback).

What do you think?

About David Doherty
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