5 Futurist Predictions in the World of Health


Consumer-driven Health

Futurists predict that technology will soon be a major player in how we take charge of our own health. Sure, there are apps available now to help you monitor your weight, food intake and other health conditions. But futurist Jim Carroll foresees technology functioning as a "dashboard for the human body" [source: Jim Carroll]. Not only will we be using phone apps -- we'll also be integrating lots of gadgets to help monitor our health. Technologies like scales that measure weight and body fat and send them via WiFi to a Web site, or an armband that measures blood pressure and plugs into an iPhone, will be more common. We'll be able to send this information to doctors so they can monitor our health all of the time.

Even further into the future, Michio Kaku believes that silicon chips could be encoded with DNA and placed in your bathroom mirror: "You blow on the bathroom mirror. It analyzes your saliva droplets, looking for the P53 gene" [source: Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry]. A change in this gene is present in half of the most common cancers. Frank Moss, former director of the M.I.T. Media Lab, sees a future in which software could suggest how you might improve your health, based on your vital signs and other input. A program might direct you to run diagnostic tests on yourself and then send the results to your doctor, who would explain them and prescribe treatment via video. And if you do have to go into a doctors' office, he or she will show you what's happening on a big screen, you'll decide on a course of action together and you'll get instructions sent to your phone. The future of health technology will mean an entirely new doctor-patient relationship.