The future of healthcare is here

The X PRIZE is not the latest hit talent show from Simon Cowell, nor is it a super lottery, but it will change your life more than a positive comment from Simon Cowell or winning the lottery. 

The X PRIZE is the genius of Peter Diamandis, author of Abundance. He created a competition for space travel after reading about the competition to be the first human to cross the Atlantic by plane, which was accomplished by Charles Lindberg. The idea was simple: Offer a large award ($10 million) with clear goals and constraints and only the winner gets paid. Low risk, high reward. The competition was so successful that now you can buy a ticket to space for $200,000. Test flights have already been conducted and Richard Branson has branded it "Virgin Galactic.” 

In the same spirit, Peter set out to solve the world's healthcare issues. He says that when you visit a doctor 45 percent of the time you are either misdiagnosed or prescribed the wrong medication. This is little better than flipping a coin for your medical decisions. He felt that the X PRIZE could change the healthcare system through "disruptive innovation." Per his website: "The Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE is a $10 million global competition to stimulate innovation and integration of precision diagnostic technologies, making reliable health diagnoses available directly to health consumers in their homes." Think of a smart phone-like device that reads your temperature, blood pressure and heart rate and can take blood and urine samples.

We are preached to that our health is our responsibility, yet trying to get a copy of your medical records or lab results requires you to sign more paperwork than when you are applying for a loan. Innovation is relegated to diseases that can make money vs. self monitoring and management. 

The Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE simply puts a diagnostic dashboard in our hands. Imagine driving your car and not having a gauge for gas, oil, heat, speed or your safety features. Whoops, you blew up your engine? Too bad you didn't know you needed oil, you could have filled it up and saved several thousand dollars, not to mention the inconvenience. This sounds ridiculous but this is currently how our healthcare system works. We have great medicine and knowledge in place but can only access it when the engine blows. Then the blame game starts, with pre-existing conditions etc.

One healthcare provider, Wellpoint, is working with IBM's Watson (the artificial intelligence computer that won on the show “Jeopardy” in September, 2011) to diagnose patients with greater accuracy. Combine supercomputing with super intelligence and a constant, accurate personal health diagnostic dashboard–for around $100–and you have disruptive innovation. When you are alerted early that you have a health issue and are diagnosed correctly and medicated properly imagine how our quality of life will increase. 

The technology is slated to be available in three years. It will change healthcare in every way and is anticipated to extend seniors’ life spans, especially for the baby boomers.

The future of healthcare is here.

Topics: Technology & IT