Mainframe Healthcare Is the Problem

April 19, 2010 · Posted in innovation · Comment 

The solution for better, lower cost, more accessible health care is distributed systems, self care instead of the centralized medical model.

Medicine is one of the most centralized top down industries in the world. Everything else in the world is far past the Single stage and is now moving from Multiple to Continuous with distributed models. Distributed model is the solution to better lower cost health care.

Unfortunately the USA has now been forced into a top down centralized payment model. That payment model will also favor centralized top down medical treatment. Since people will be forced to pay for treatment even if they don’t need it, through insurance premiums, they will demand more treatments.

A decentralized model promotes health, instead of medical treatment. There are hundreds of innovations for this model and all of them will lead to better health at lower costs.

3D Printer Brings Vision to the Poor

The same week that I found all the articles on 3D printers I found an amazing example that could dramatically improve life for billions of people in developing countries who cannot access, nor afford, prescription glasses.

Last weekend I went to get a new optical prescription so I could buy new contacts. The technician used fully automatic devices to check me for glaucoma and calculated my prescription. I had experienced the glaucoma device but the prescription device was new to me. I instantly knew how it worked just from seeing it. The machine reflects a pattern off your eye then adjusts lenses in the device until the reflected pattern matches the original. Incredibly, quick easy and cheap!

My mind raced through all the potential innovations stemming from this device. I came up with a long list which I’ll get to in a moment. What I am more excited about is an extremely innovative application of this same technique. In 2002 a student at MIT used a similar technique as part of a system to make glasses for the poor. This was exactly what I had thought of. This innovation went from an idea in 2002 to commercial usable device in 2006. That is amazing.

One of the reasons the idea was developed in such a short time was the use of a 3D printer to create a prototype. But probably even more important was it solved a previously impossible problem and opened up a gigantic market. There are 1 billion people who need inexpensive glasses. Market for low cost glasses

There are two obstacles to providing eye glasses to people in developing countries. Read more