These connected objects that capture our health data and could save us

by time news
These connected objects that capture our health data and could save us

The androgynous body of a person adorned with gadgets is on the front page of the British weekly The Economist. Attached to his belly, his ears and his wrists, they represent the “wearables”, these watches and other connected objects that capture our health data. And that could help us live longer, says the liberal headline.

Up to 7,500 physiological and behavioral variables could be harvested by these enhanced accessories.

“Some are more useful than others, of course, but, thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning, these objects are able to analyze data streams to draw up a real-time numerical assessment of the user and his state of health.”

We are still only at the beginning of the “quantified self”, “connected self-measurement”. For digital health investors, this is a “crazy epic” ; for patients, innovations that have just begun.

Health services should thus be transformed in three ways with these technological developments, explains The Economist. Through earlier and therefore more effective diagnoses, personalized treatments and the management of chronic diseases. “Three levers with the same promise: reduce costs and save lives”, advance the title.

Valuable data

The devices can indeed detect discreet but alarming changes in the body, which could for example indicate the onset of a disease. With personal knowledge of how a metabolism works, they could also help tailor treatments to each person, when most medications “are only effective in 30 to 50% of patients”. It’s the promise “for everyone to be treated as a unique individual, not as a clone of the standard theoretical human being”.

The “wearables” could also save the cost of health care, continues The Economist. In the case of diabetes, the United States would spend between 10,000 and 20,000 dollars per year per patient, or 280 billion dollars nationally. Gold, “we know that a diabetes monitoring application can reduce the cost of care by $1,400 to $5,000 per patient”explains the title.

If the scope of these benefits “promises to be vast”, this type of gadget brings its share of dangers, as with any innovative technological object:

“Health data is very valuable and could be misused by certain manufacturers of connected objects, insurers or governments seeking to exercise some form of control over society. Also, not everyone may have access to this technology, especially those living in poverty and insecurity – who need it the most.”

And the first concern of the defenders of these objects, points out The Economist, is the risk of bureaucracy getting in the way of them.

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