I am a bit surprised, when I moved to healthcare and life sciences I wanted to study the industry design. There is so much concurrency here of marco-shifts in the middle of a patent cliff, regulatory reform, and a technological revolution. How could I not be here?
I knew I would study the industry, help articulate the tip of the innovation spear, and bulldoze a transformation eventually. I figured, I had a 50/50 shot of succeeding, or failing. These are bad career odds, but I wanted a challenge.
I never intended to be a part of the industry; I wanted to work in the industry only. Six months after, I am convinced that I will spend the next decade of my life Apping the primary care physician. My parents will be proud, instead of becoming a doctor, I would have made doctors less meaningful.
I am convinced that the movement of the Quantified Self, and specialized medicine driven by patient information, 3D printing, and human body sensors will create the type of data that will solve the patient drug adherence problem, by flanking it with data. Patients quantifying themselves, with version 1.0 techniques and tools such as 23andme.com and fitbit.com are experiencing “psychological medicine” – which I phrase as the “technological equivalent of the placebo effect.”
Let me ‘splain .. well no, no time, let me summarize …
I had my DNA tested/evaluated by 23andme.com, and I am now an addict to my personal data with my new fitbit. I have more information from about myself after one month, and spending 200 bucks that anyone I know personally have about themselves. When I meet Larry Smarr, I will no longer be able to say this, because in IMHO Larry is the most quantified person currently on the planet.
When you see data about your body, your calorie intake and burn down to the second, your heart beat to the tone and second, and all of the other KPIs of the body, you start to feel a sense of ownership of the body. You start to embrace the famous phrase “the body is a temple” and immediately the physiological effect of the data, creates a set of lifestyle changes that would yield the alternative equivalent of loads of medicine. I call this psychological medicine.
Why am I so interested?
- I want to love longer and healthier – Ha? Ha? I didn’t say live longer …
- There are now hundreds of “lab in a box” like capabilities that we can use to test/measure/listen to our bodies.
- More and more sensors are being built to collect the body’s analog data and make it available digitally
- 3D printing is now at the point where body parts, and medicines are being printed.
- All of this is creating a historic point of inflection where humans are tipping the paradigm shift away from cure to prevention with their own data – and this means …
- Pharmaceuticals will move from cure, to preventa-ceuticals.
- More sensoring of the body as the modern vaccination, babies will get sensors installed.
- Broad-spectrum medicine will move to specialized me-dicine.
- And when all of these data sources from these sensors start to become ubiquitous …
- We will freak mankind out with its own data, and create a stampede of folks rushing to primary care doctors more than they do today, because they will be self diagnosing incorrectly with their own data that is uncorrelated and coming from divergent sources …
Yeah … yeah … booking.yeah! (I love that commercial BTW)
And so, the knee jerk reaction (no pun intended) of silicon valley will be to build a platform and a stinking API. I will likely spend the next decade doing exactly this, but from a completely different way, and from a completely different direction.
You see …
- APIs, are meant to be perfect, and human data is imperfect, so the API will have to have in its design the ability to heal the data.
- Every sensor, App will be fighting for your symptom attention, creating a need for a layer of correlation and convergence leading to signals for prevention, not symptoms of knows medical conditions.
- A primary care physician talent cloud will be needed to evaluate signals that are on the margin of medical certainty – think odesk.com for doctors, medical school students, nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.
- The payers and policy makers will have to get into the mix.
- And last but not least, we will need innovation in the liability model of modern medicine.
This is no API, or platform; this is the mother of all APIs. This is “The Human API”. And I am pretty psyched to have to opportunity to finally mute the function “Go to Primary Care Physician” for mankind.
More on this to come, a lot more.