NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Revolutionizing Health Care with Technology

September 30, 2014

Health care is "monstrously inefficient," writes Jim Epstein, producer at Reason TV, but the technology industry could soon change that.

Epstein describes a few of the new business ventures with the capacity to shake up the health care industry:

  • Theranos, a company founded in 2003, has created a device that can do a series of blood tests on a single drop of blood from a finger prick. The software provides a menu of prices (offering a cholesterol check for $2.99, or a glucose test for $8.85) from which consumers can choose.
  • Theranos is likely to grow in popularity, as the Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule in February allowing patients to view lab results directly, rather than through a doctor.
  • Curious is a technology firm that will soon begin testing a product that will take genetic information, microbiomic profiles and life events (which a user enters manually) and analyze them, showing patients what helps, or hurts, different ailments.
  • Doctors on Demand is an online service which allow patients to chat with doctors via video chat for 15 minutes for $40, saving patients time and money. HealthTap is a similar company, offering unlimited calls with doctors for $99 per month.

The biggest challenge, Epstein writes, are state-level and FDA regulations that limit the ability of these companies to thrive. He notes that the FDA recently pulled a personal genome test, offered by the company 23andme, off the market because it gave patients what it considered to be too much information about the consequences of their genetic test results.  

Source: Jim Epstein, "How the Apple Watch Could Help Revolutionize Health Care,", September 25, 2014. 


Browse more articles on Health Issues