At least one thing is certain about the future of America's health care system: It will have to do more with less.
The aging wave of baby boomers is starting to stress medical staffs already short of doctors and nurses. At the same time, the governments, businesses, taxpayers and workers that fund health care are at a breaking point, so they're pushing health care providers to make money by lowering costs, not by performing more services.
That's why a growing number of companies, in
Their collective efforts could have an enormous impact on the daily work of doctors, nurses and scientists. Some even think a combination of super computing and super-convenient mobile devices can replace lots of health care professionals.
"I doubt very much if, within 10 to 15 years, I won't be able to ask
Khosla, a co-founder of
"Eventually, we won't need the average doctor and will have much better and cheaper care for 90 to 99 percent of our medical needs," he wrote on the web site TechCrunch.com.
Few have agreed with Khosla's specific numbers, although many concur that technological developments are indeed pushing in the direction he suggested.
"That's probably a little aggressive," said Dr.
But Park does expect some health care providers to be replaced by technology. He cited
"I think EyeNetra is going to replace a lot of optometrists," Park said. In other cases, he added, new technologies will take over routine tasks, allowing health care professionals to focus more time on the most difficult cases.
The developments are driven by:
1. constant connectivity made possible by smartphones,
2. the constant stream of medical information that can be generated and transmitted by those smartphones, and
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