“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” — Henry Ford
The real driver behind the growth of the Internet was the promulgation of non-proprietary networking protocols. Once adopted, it became possible for a commercial entity to create product incorporating a standard interface confident that it would reliably inter-operate with other products conforming to the same standard. This resulted in a flood of technological innovation and entrepreneurship. The effects are still being experienced today as Google, Twitter, Amazon, and Facebook, would not be possible without the existence of standardized protocols.
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) recently published five standards addressing “Interoperability design guidelines for personal health systems”. Firms such as Intel, Cisco, IBM, and Oracle participated in the standards effort.
Consumers did not abandon land-lines because they ran out of things to say. The availability of affordable mobile technology has resulted in significant changes in social behaviour and introduced a variety of new markets and areas of economic opportunity.
It is expected that acceptance of these new ITU standards will promote the further development of both health networks (SaaS) and a variety of Personal Health Devices (PHDs). Cost containment is a key government objective as the share of GDP devoted to health care averages 9.5% within the OECD. In the US, health care cost is presently 17.6% of GDP and forecast to rise to 20% of the US GDP by 2021. This spending represents a significant global market for networked services and Personal Health Devices.
Within the next decade we will likely experience a shift from a reactive, illness treatment model to a Comprehensive Proactive Care model (CPC) in which the individual assumes much greater responsibility for his / her personal health management. Health care in the OECD will shift toward a model similar to that currently utilized for industrial safety and risk management. This will include promulgation of best practices and constant process monitoring by the individual abetted by personal health devices and networked health services. We will likely observe the integration of personal health management and household management in which any excursion from forecast norms results in a lifestyle counselling alert being provided to the individual health consumer.