Healthcare IT Sector To Exploit Human Genome Research
26th June 2007. Cambridge, UK: Over several weeks in 1854 the British physician John Snow collected data on instances of cholera in the Soho area of London - finally tracking down the source of the epidemic to a single water pump. If the data analysis and mapping tools Google uses today had been available to Snow, he might have pinpointed the offending pump within hours. A report by Cambridge UK analysts Wireless Healthcare sees Internet search technology as a potential tool for disease monitoring and draws attention to links Google has with companies developing wireless based disease monitoring and genetic testing services.
The report “Wireless Based Disease Management”, which is published this week, predicts that IT vendors – such as IBM – will attempt to use centralised supercomputer based applications, hosted by international disease control centres, to gain a pivotal role in the global healthcare market. Wireless Healthcare expects smaller medical device manufacturers to use a different approach, relying on organic growth and patient opt-ins rather than imposing systems patients have to opt out-of. It also describes how both large and small IT vendors are gaining access to disease monitoring technology based on human genome research.
However, the report warns against an over-reliance on genetic profiling of patients, noting that face-to-face consultations with a GP often identify diseases that have a wide range of causes – including some that are psychosomatic. “If GP consultations are automated and the number of patients turning to online services for a diagnosis increases, we see a growing demand for intelligent technology that can identify psychosomatic diseases,” states Peter Kruger, Analyst with Wireless Healthcare, who goes on to say, “This technology could be an extension of the intelligent software currently used, in beta form, to profile Internet search users.”
The report notes that monitoring diseases such as AIDS, influenza and diabetes will raise issues of patient confidentiality and privacy and that Google is testing the limits of similar issues with experimental services in its ‘Playground’. Wireless Healthcare expects patients to trade some privacy for the peace of mind that comes with timely diagnosis.
“Wireless Based Disease Management”, an independent report produced by Wireless Healthcare, is available from www.wirelesshealthcare.co.uk.
About Wireless Healthcare
Wireless Healthcare are UK based analysts specialising in the application of mobile and wireless technology in the healthcare sector.
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