This story is from the 2016 Access 25: How Mobility is Reshaping the Globe. Explore more from this issue

High-Tech Healthcare

Coming soon to a clinic near you: A convergence of digital sensors, big-data analytics and cloud computing that will change healthcare forever.

Imagine a biochemical sensor that can be implanted in cancerous tissue to help clinicians monitor and adjust treatments. Or an ingestible sensor that monitors when a patient has taken his or her medication. Or sensors that mimic nerve patterns, allowing a human brain to manipulate a prosthetic limb. All three are in various stages of development. Combine those technologies with big-data analytics, the Internet of Things and cloud computing, and you have a true prescription for change. Physicians can combine the sensor feedback with massive data sets and predictive analytics to test drug combinations, track brain waves in real time and diagnose everything from migraines to malaria with pinpoint accuracy.

In short, sensors are driving healthcare to the cusp of considerable change — with potentially radical implications for improved quality of care and cost savings.