The future of digital health: what could that mean for your small business?

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was witnessing a paraplegic person walk again. I viewed this amazing moment in a video shown by a fellow presenter at the International Society of Digital Medicine conference in Nanjing, China. A robot exoskeleton was wrapped around the body of the paraplegic person, and they were walking with crutches and no human assistance.

Digital technology has made the future of the health industry incredibly bright. In your health business, you should already be thinking about how these new technologies could create opportunities in your organisation.

Here are 5 things that really excite me in the health industry right now:

1. EKSO

Ekso. This is it. The robot that wraps around a human body and makes paraplegic people walk independently again. Interestingly they also have a version of Ekso to assist construction workers using heavy hand held tools. Robots are starting to enable us to have superhuman abilities.

2. IMAGINARY

An Italian company developing virtual reality games to improve the health and fitness of the population. At Imaginary, they feel that by motivating users to modify their daily habits to healthier ones through gamification, the young population can be kept healthy, and the elderly population more active. This, in turn, reduces the cost of care.

3. THE VGO

This rolling robot by Vecna allows telehealth consultations to be truly mobile. VGo enables a person to appear in a distant location and have the freedom to move around as if they were physically there. It is not just a traditional videoconferencing/telepresence solution where two or more people meet using specially equipped rooms or PCs in their offices.  With VGo, you are completely independent of the people in the distant location – it’s 100% remote controlled.  

4. HUMAN MICROCHIPS

Humans are already trialling the implantation of microchips in their hands that can be scanned to reveal health history, allergies and other information. Imagine if a paramedic could quickly scan the hand of an unconscious victim to find out who they are, their health history and any medications they are taking.

5. AUGMEDIX AND GOOGLE GLASS

Imagine if you were a doctor and you no longer had to take notes or stare at a computer while with a patient. These glasses contain a camera and record all of your consultations for you. The video can be filed or transcribed into written format.

Is your business future proof enough to deal with the changes that technologies such as these can bring? If you are not in the health industry itself, can you envisage applications of these technologies that could be translated to your industry?

As Small Business owners, we all have a responsibility to keep our finger on the pulse of what is to come in our industry. It’s the only way to ensure that we don’t get left behind.

Know of something exciting happening in digital health? I’d love to hear about it; please share in the comments below.

 

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