We all know how medical costs are soaring out of control, placing a huge burden on the entire economy. But inexpensive digital devices are alleviating some of those costs, by enabling patients to monitor their physical signs at home with fewer visits to the doctor. For example, a tiny sensor created by Proteus Biomedical in Redwood City California is eaten by the patient, and once activated inside the body, transmits heart rate and other information to a smartphone.
With such devices, it's easy to observe patterns of physical symptoms over time, and when symptoms might be reduced by diet, exercise or meditation, it's easier to determine which of those are actually working.
Digital monitoring devices are already a billion dollar industry and growing fast. In a few years, use of such devices is likely to be the norm rather than the exception. There are a few potential drawbacks, such as such as the possibility that your data, transmitted over wireless networks, may be accessed by people who are not authorized to see it, or that your data could be tampered with. Nevertheless, we definitely seem to be moving in the direction of having a much more detailed and comprehensive view of everything going on in our bodies, with far fewer of those costly doctor visits than before.