Saturday, March 30, 2013

Technology may make predicting Health Care Costs impossible.

Ezra Klein posed an interesting question; can we really predict the cost of health care for future generations when the smallest piece of technology can change everything?

Klein points to the following device that really could change everything, if it doesn't disappear into the black hole of time, like so many other game changers:
WaPo: Scientists at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have developed a minuscule implant that measures various blood chemicals and sends the results, via Bluetooth, to your smart phone. The upside? Your smartphone knows when you’re about to have a heart attack. And it can call someone on your behalf. It is, after all ,a smartphone. This particular device might prove, for one reason or another, to be bunk. Many seemingly magical inventions do. Consider how dramatically these devices will change medicine. Right now, the medical industry is fundamentally reactive.

Something goes wrong, and we go to them to fix it. This will make medicine fundamentally proactive. They will see something going wrong, and they will intervene to stop it. It’s like “Minority Report” for health care.

This is why I don’t put much stock in projections of health-care spending that run 30 or 50 or 75 years into the future. Will biometric devices in constant communication with the cloud make medicine more or less expensive? Will driverless cars prolong life in a way that saves money or costs it? Will the advances in preventive technology make medicine so effective that we’re glad to devote 40 percent of gross domestic product to it? Who knows?

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