Roland Piquepaille's latest take on nanobots in the bloodstream has me reflecting on the greatest force we have available for surviving health care inflation.
Moore's Law, the idea that technology gets faster-and-faster faster-and-faster, is not applied often enough to health care. Regulation frustrates it, constantly. We want to audit every data transfer, or place expensive hurdles before any improved device.
Moore's Law is the force behind the biggest trend in health care, personalized health care. Instead of guessing about what you should do based on test results when you get sick, doctors prescribe lifestyle changes beforehand, based on genetic knowledge.
It's Moore's Law which enables Google Health to let you have your personal health records, free. And it's Moore's Law which enables Microsoft to store and move all a hospital's records through its Amalga system.
It's Moore's Law which enabled the human genome to be decoded early this decade, and is now enabling the start of decoding how genetics codes for proteins.
This is no secret. Why do you think politicians in both parties see the growth of the medical computing market as a "magic bullet" for health care costs?
To Moore's Law we should add the network effects created by this medium, which are global. The trend toward "self-service" health care is driven by "Web 2.0" communities which ride on "Web 1.0."
In industrial terms, we're talking about mass customization. Each of us is unique, comprised of gigabytes of data which can be stored, manipulated, and turned into a far more accurate diagnosis. At constantly declining costs.
To all this we must add nanotechnology breakthroughs, such as those Roland describes. Nanoscience is advancing at an accelerating rate, and thanks to Moore's Law it will reach the market faster than you can imagine.
Assuming we let it. Assuming we unleash Moore's Law. That's the most important health care policy question of our time.