X-rays and iPads: The network healthcare evolution

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    Photo illustration by Aurich Lawson

    Future of Bandwidth

    At the rate technology has changed everything else in our lives, by now we should have the equivalent of tricorders in our smartphones—instant access to our health statistics collected by sensors in our clothes and pulled into our individual health history in the cloud. We should be able to Skype our physician, text our pharmacist, and get both a blood sugar measurement and an MRI at Starbucks while waiting for a grande latte.

    Except for the MRI part, all of that is doable today. Thanks to the big stick provided by the Affordable Care Act in the US, some healthcare organizations are pushing more aggressive use of network bandwidth and cloud technology:

    • Monitoring patients’ health more proactively with networked devices, ranging from wirelessly networked medicine bottle lids to worn or embedded sensors that report back on vital signs;
    • Coordinating care with the help of analytic tools in the cloud and a wealth of individual and collective patient data; and
    • Connecting physicians directly with patients over PCs or mobile devices for between-appointment follow-ups.

    Those things can’t be pulled off without cloud technology, whether it’s hosted internally in a health organization’s data center or elsewhere. But ask any random sampling of physicians, technologists, and health industry observers. They’ll tell you technology isn’t restraining the next big paradigm shift in health care. The bandwidth is willing.

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    X-rays and iPads: The network healthcare evolution

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