Houston 2035 Predictions: Technology
WILLIAM F. McKEON
Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Operating Officer
Texas Medical Center
Sophisticated nano and micro sensors will create a “Body Area Network,” capturing the body’s most essential biological information. That data will continuously pass to your mobile and home devices, providing a real-time “health dashboard” that will diagnose most of the common ailments and detect serious abnormalities—often well before a patient becomes symptomatic. These sensors will be a part of our daily lives without impeding activity, allowing us to behave more naturally so that they can pick up the reality of how a condition is manifesting itself. One of the most valuable things that sensors will provide in future technology is that ability to capture information in real-time so that it can be acted upon.
Computer processing power and costs are rapidly driving the cost of DNA sequencing down to the price of a standard blood test. Every human is unique from all the billions of other people on the planet, and care will move from a disease approach to a unique individual plan. It will be exciting to see that with many of these major areas of disease that we battle today, you will have your own personalized plan to address it, hopefully before the onset of the disease itself. It’s a way of using the best available information to optimize an individual’s health, in all areas of their life, so that we’re actually being preemptive rather than palliative in our care.
Computers are already making small decisions today by analyzing traffic patterns and redirecting us to less congested areas. In the future, we will ask computers to solve more complex tasks that will combine all relevant information from disparate places. Imagine asking a computer, “Where would be the best place for our family to live?” or, “What would be the best university for my daughter to attend?” The computer will pull information from all relevant repositories (financial, social, geographic, etc.) and perform tasks that are too complex for humans to perform quickly.