Someday Hospitals Will Make House Calls


 
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It May Be Years, Or Even Decades, Before Remote Personal Health-Care Systems and Services Take Off But Some Companies Like Intel Are Getting Ready Now.

Today's graying baby boomers grew up thinking of health care as something that happens in a hospital. Meanwhile, practitioners in the emerging field of systems biology imagine a very different future.

Tomorrow's consumer, they say, will stop by the local drug store to pick up the latest health cartridge. At home, he will load it into a personal DNA tester that analyzes a drop of blood to determine any conditions he has now or may develop in the future. The device also will compute the formula for the treatment best suited to his genetic makeup.

This scenario is, admittedly, years if not decades away from breakthroughs in genetics that will make this possible. But some baby steps in the emerging field of remote health care will come even in 2009.

For instance, Intel Corp., the world's top semiconductor company by revenue, has released for testing its Intel Health Guide, a sort of home nursing PC. The Intel Health Guide will monitor vital signs of elderly patients with chronic conditions and provide details via the Net to a doctor in a remote clinic. Thanks to standards developed by the Continua Health Alliance of more than 100 companies, including Intel, any company can produce interoperable systems and peripherals.

Eventually such systems will sport ties to wireless sensors in the home that can help remote family members and care providers track how an elderly person is doing. As peripherals mature in their sophistication, these systems will offer more kinds of health services to broader groups of people, leading someday to the kind of personalized, proactive health care today's systems biologists envision.

Perhaps non-invasive, out-patient surgeries might even be handled by remote physicians using devices rented from clinics and delivered by FedEx. Who needs a hospital?

 

Copyright 2008- American Society of Registered Nurses (ASRN.ORG)-All Rights Reserved



 
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Articles in this issue:

Masthead

  • Masthead

    Editor-in Chief:
    Kirsten Nicole

    Editorial Staff:
    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Robyn Bowman
    Kimberly McNabb
    Lisa Gordon
    Stephanie Robinson

    Contributors:
    Kirsten Nicole
    Stan Kenyon
    Liz Di Bernardo
    Cris Lobato
    Elisa Howard
    Susan Cramer

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