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Futuristic Private Patient Rooms and Low-Tech Health Innovation: The Battle

Whenever I give an interview about the future of medicine and current global trends, the question whether wealthier people would have even better care always comes up. Obviously, this is a crucial issue. But I take it to a next level. In the future, not just richer people will get better care but will also have a chance to become superhuman by implanting and using expensive medical innovations from augmented reality-based contact lenses to artificial organs.

Although, there will always be a battle between the major motivation behind creating better experience for the rich (money) and the motivation behind designing innovations for underdeveloped areas (providing better care).

It might not be the best comparison, but take a look at the Patient Room 2020 design (photo below) and a non-profit model for fostering low-tech health innovation. The room looks great and is certainly comfortable but it lacks of real innovation.


Regarding fostering low-tech innovation, there is an amazing initiative in Seattle.

Anurag Mairal, director of technology solutions at PATH Health Technologies, says that it’s time to start looking at low-cost innovations in healthcare differently. What should the road map be for an innovation? Should the product debut in a developing country first and then, evolve for the developed market or vice versa?

Examples include river blindness tests, mobile-phone milk pasteurization (picture below) and female condoms.


FoneAstra is a system that uses mobile phones to monitor flash-heat pasteurization of donor breast milk.

We should find a balance between high-class and low-tech innovations in order to provide better care either for developed or underdeveloped areas.

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