The Future of Medicine Is Here. Now Let’s Start Using It.

Physician-Scientist
"Own your own health," says Singularity University's Daniel Kraft. Exciting new technologies with major health care implications are emerging. 3D printing, diagnostic apps, new forms of data analysis — these are all tools that democratize health care for consumers. In this video interview, Kraft shows off some of the emerging tools that fit in his pocket and demonstrates how exponential technology is about to change the ways we take care of ourselves.
  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Daniel Kraft: I think the cutting edge of medicine is really not always high-tech; it's being more focused on prevention and being proactive, understanding your genetics. We're at $1,000 genome today; we'll be at $100 or even a free genome in the next decade. We know that sitting is the new smoking. We now have wearables that we can stick in our clothes and our cars and our phones that are going to help give us insight into our behaviors. We're in the era of integrating exponential technologies together.

I have in my pocket a version of the first medical tricorder, part of a clinical trial from a company called Scanadu that started at Singularity University. So as a consumer, you can track your vital signs very readily. They can help you do a better job of understanding health, wellness, early disease detection, and triage. Technologies like having an AI doctor blended with sensors like this one has in your pocket as a consumer will help you be more proactive, realizing that the best drug is walking, doing 30 minutes of exercise a day; being reasonable about your diet. And when we can use some of these tools as levers, understanding that behavior change is hard. If you can look in the mirror in the morning and see future you and if your future you is 100 pounds heavier, that might change your lever on behavior change.

We can use, I think, Myers-Briggs Type things of behavioral change to understand your care and your stick because just like precision and personalized medicine, not everyone needs the same drug or the same app or the same interface; we can start to use AI feedback loops integrated into your workday, integrated into your wearables, into your apps to be more proactive. And if you think about how the world has shifted, we've only had smartphones for seven years. The desktop of 2000 fits on your smartphone and as of now it fits on my smartwatch, which can kind of give you a bit of a Google Now. Not just leave work early because of traffic, but you need to check in the gym and get a few extra calories today if you're going to stay on track to a certain goal or to help manage diabetes or emphysema or heart disease.

And we're seeing a whole new realm of sort of digital diagnostics. In my pocket I have an attachment that's an otoscope that can go in your phone. I have 3D-printed parts; here's mini me. So we have new tools that you can use at home, whether it's 3D printing a cast if you've had a fracture, and here's an example from 3D Systems. Scan your fracture; make one that fits you. All these things are enabling cheaper, faster, more effective health care. It can democratize it around the planet. You can have telemedicine talking to your doctor or nurse on Skype anywhere on the planet, which has increasingly broadband accessibility. You can have diagnostics, labs on a chip. It's not just our quantified self-data; it's the ability to do this on your smartphone or to communicate that to a pathologist here in New York from rural Africa.

All those things are shifting the power curve to the empowered and engaged consumer and patient who can be a data donor, can be connected to their own data to gain insights early, can have a visit with their clinician in more seamless less expensive and less time-consuming ways. So we're in an interesting era now, whether it's a tricorder or knowing your own genomics or having embedded sensors kind of like your own personal check engine light can really shift health care diagnostics and therapy in smart ways. So I think the most important thing anyone can do is start owning their own health. Using tools and apps to quit smoking, get on a diet, tweet out their weight from your scale, all those things can come together in powerful ways to be more proactive and preventative as opposed to waiting for disease to happen. So be the COO of your own health; don't wait for your doctor to tell you what you need to do when you're in the ER or worse.