With an ever ageing population the costs of providing health care is rapidly increasing. Additionally, the diagnostic capabilities and tools available to clinicians is increasing through the introduction of automated testing instruments. This now gives rise to the real possibility of moving the testing closer to the patient, usually the local GPs surgery while still enabling the interrogation of database trends through the use of expert systems.
New/miniaturised sensor technologies to move from centralised lab-based analysis to surgery (desktop) equipment
By introducing fast diagnostic testing at the initial point of care, the expense, both for the health service and patient, of attending a high value centralised facility is reduced. Equally importantly, the ability to carry out a diagnostic test within the consulting rooms while the patient is present means disease can be caught at an earlier stage thus improving treatment efficacy.
Remote/telemedicine to reduce diagnosis time
Access to specialist clinicians is difficult for remote patients. Improvements in telemedicine can provide expert opinion either directly to the patient or a resource to assist the local clinicians. This improves the quality of care to patients and increases the overall quality of delivering a health service.
Improved drug delivery systems leading to personalised medical care
Most existing drug treatments are based upon a standard dose rate to be administered for a particular medical condition. Portable monitoring and sensing systems are now being developed to actively monitor the impact of a single or series of drugs and adjust the dose rate for greatest patient benefit.