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Recently, Intel Corporation’s research and development and labs team, in addition to in-house ethnographers (anthropologists concentrating on the study of how individual’s live their lives) conducted a study of 12,000 people and 250 hospitals across 20 countries in an effort to determine where the future of healthcare may be heading.  The results, although not necessarily surprising, support the belief that technological innovation will bolster virtual, or remote, healthcare, thus reducing the need to physically visit the traditional brick-and-mortar physician’s office or hospital. 

Personalized healthcare.  The vast majority of respondents positively responded to the idea of personal sensors to monitor health status.  Such sensors could include prescription bottle sensors, wearable body sensors, or swallowed sensors that could continuously collect data in an effort to provide early diagnosis of health issues, in addition to creating a pool of information to improve research of particular conditions and the development of medications. 

Information collection and synthesis.  A significant portion of respondents were inclined to anonymously share personal health information if it would contribute to medical advances and ultimately lower medical costs.  Further, nearly half of the respondents
surveyed stated they would trust themselves to monitor their basic vitals. 

Remote interaction with healthcare professionals.  A substantial number of respondents indicated they would be willing to “see” a doctor via video conference for non-emergency or non-urgent appointments.  Of those respondents, over half would trust a diagnosis delivered via video conference. 

While innovations, much like those described above, will more than likely improve patient diagnosis and treatment, as a whole, and reduce the overall costs of healthcare, it is equally likely that such innovations will have a tremendous impact on traditional physician’s offices and hospitals.  Virtual care, self-administered tests, remote monitoring – together, such innovations will lessen the need to actually leave one’s home to visit the doctor and have that doctor diagnose the ailment and prescribe a potential treatment protocol.  This, in turn, could reduce overall revenues and lessen the need for a full staff of on-site employees in a physician’s office or hospital.  Therefore, one could envision, by extending this scenario in full, that in the future, due to technological advances, we may see a reduction in traditional brick-and-mortar physician’s offices and hospitals.

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