Healthcare: The New Frontier?

This week I am at an event discussing the Future of Healthcare. My segment team spends much of its time working with well identified market segments like smartphones, wearables, servers and engine management systems. However, we also spending time looking further into the future to see what new applications are emerging and how we best set up the ARM ecosystem to take full advantage of those areas. My radar screen right now includes agriculture, robotics, fashion and, yes, healthcare.

As an aside, I will say that it wasn’t the most horrible work location I have ever visited. But I digress…..

Today’s focus was on cancer and what nanotechnology has the potential to do to better target drugs to the right areas of the body for maximum impact. I heard incredible statistics like:

  • For some treatments, only 1% of a drug actually makes it to the intended area
  • Nearly 1/3 of men that are operated on due to early signs of prostate cancer are mistakes (“false positives”)

Technology truly has a role to play here. A couple of interesting ARM partners were chatting today:

  • X2Biosystems: With mandates in the US about accelerating and improving early diagnosis of concussions, this company is delivering a patch that can provide real time information to doctors attending this year’s SECC (American) college football game
  • Proteus Digital health: Supplying an ingestible (no ARM chip there) that creates a unique ID which is captured on a patch worn on the skin (using an ARM powered device from OnSemi) and transmitted to a smartphone

The most interesting comments of the day came at the end of the day as one panelist described the future of healthcare as the connected bathroom…Namely that the consumer could access saliva, blood and, yes, urine there. With the power of the internet, this consumer could be more empowered to gain access to greater knowledge as to their current state of health. A Stanford professor went further

  • Consumers have sought more control over their means of transport – hence Uber
  • Consumers have sought more control over their accommodation – hence Airbnb

So, if in the future someone can access an account on the IBM Watson machine to diagnose their unique medical information, what is the role of the hospital of the future……and, indeed, of the regulatory bodies? Now, clearly, that is a long way away, and, like any disruption, it presents positives and negatives.

What is clear to me though is that technology has a significant role to play in the future of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of ailments. It’s an area you will be hearing more about from ARM over the coming quarters and years.