If you have ever sat in a doctor’s waiting room, next to someone with a hacking cough and with only a pile of out-of-date Reader’s Digests for company, then you may have asked whether the system was fit for 21st Century living.
The NHS seems under increasing pressure, from GP surgeries to accident and emergency rooms. It feels as if the healthcare system is in desperate need of CPR – the question is will technology be the thing that brings it back to life?
Daniel Kraft is a trained doctor who heads up the medicine school at the Singularity University, a Silicon Valley-based organisation that runs graduate and business courses on how technology is going to disrupt the status quo in a variety of industries.
When I interview him he is carrying a device that looks suspiciously like a Tricorder, the scanners that were standard issue in Star Trek.
“This is a mock-up of a medical tricorder that can scan you and get information. I can hold it to my forehead and it will pick up my heart rate, my oxygen saturation, my temperature, my blood pressure and communicate it to my smartphone,” he explains.
In future, Dr Kraft predicts, such devices will be linked to artificial intelligence agents on smartphones, which in turn will be connected to super-computers such as IBM’s Watson, to give people instant and accurate diagnoses.
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