Apple – The Next Revolution is….
By Bob Root, Keys Founder and Technologist
Being insiders in the medical and pharmaceutical industry, it is clear that there are many severe problems with our healthcare systems. Young greedy new doctors flock to rich suburbs to make their fortunes. Many 65+ year old’s bilking the healthcare insurance systems by treating their doctor visits as a new-age hobby. Healthcare, en-mass, using TV commercials creating FUD…Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt…to drive people to take pharmaceuticals feeding the cycle of doctor to hospital to drugs to the casket.
Today, self-aware medical practitioners realize that the healthcare system treats the 60+ as expendable. While many doctors are disturbed by this flaw in the system, they admit privately that healthcare in America is set to find cancer and then get every last dollar out of insurances to either cure or kill the patient.
According to AARP (AARP Study) the vast majority of Americans age 50+ (85%) say they have taken a prescription drug in the past five years, and three-fourths (76%) say they are currently taking at least one prescription drug on a regular basis. Just watch the Weather Channel to see an unbelievable amount of pharmaceutical commercials flanked by lawyer adverts asking if you have been harmed by a drug or medical device.
In researching this article, I must admit that I slipped into a cross between depression from all the sickening stories of peoples’ lives being ruined to a mild case of hypochondria where I took on the symptoms of various maladies.
What To Do
I guess the easiest answer of what to do appears to be only two choices. Either you bitch about the system in hopes of some Washington politico changing it or, like Apple, you change the game. This article is about one such game changer and a very simple example of how it can be changed overnight.
We started Keys Care because of my sweetie’s bout with Melanoma. The Mohs surgery saved her and the prescriptions left her skin a total train wreck. We fixed her skin. Visits to Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic and Dermatologist are a way of life for Wendy. Sometimes waiting 6 months for an appointment to have a 5-minute look by the doc to make sure that suspicious mole was benign. Yes, it seems inhuman, but it is typical. Again, many docs are well-intentioned, but they have no control over the required insurance process that rakes the patient over some hot sharp coals.
Funny use of a term to describe people. To see a doc you must be patient? Seems so!
Apple To The Rescue
When I saw the first Apple Watch with built-in heart monitor 3 years ago, I clearly saw the revolution beginning. I saw the same sensor reported to also be a blood glucose monitor that was quickly turned off because of heat from the medical community. Yes, a heart tracker was okay for fitness, but leave doctoring to the doctors was a cry heard down many halls including the FDA.
The War is All But Over and Apple is the Victor
The invention of the Apple Healthkit enabling software is the nuclear hand grenade with the healthcare system holding the pin. Envision a software that would let developers create apps that use the sensors and cameras on Apple devises to alert, diagnose and schedule immediate treatment for disorders they detect. I know, it is hard to imagine, so during the launch of the new Apple Watch 3 and iPhone X, I decided to create such a hypothesis to show how such a bold move would be possible. Some quick searches of the web and to my surprise, my hypothesis is already in play.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the Glue
Elon Musk says that AI can destroy humans faster than a world war. Probably true, but it can also change lives and save them as well. Ultimately, AI will give way to intelligent neural networks, but what Apple has created is nothing less than the first true revolution in healthcare.
A Simple Example
Before I detail this my example, it is important to realize a couple of things.
- Any systems based on a database like medicine or law will be replaced by AI in the next 10 years
- My simple example below is one of tens of thousands possible uses of AI
- Denial is futile
Herein is a simple hypothesis based on Wendy’s life after Melanoma.
To reiterate, here is a true story that happened to her not too long ago. She had a mole removed from her breast about a year prior to this incident. She visited the dermatologist who took a biopsy a few days before Wendy had to travel on customer visits. The report is that it is suspicious and the doc recommends to take another biopsy. Her skepticism is a learned trait and she questions the doc intensely. Revealed, it turns out that it was not that the biopsy was suspicious, it was that the test sample was flawed and they could not get a good reading. This is not how the doc sold the need for another biopsy. After all, they have to protect their own, don’t they? So, now it is a 6-month wait to see a competent dermatologist for an appointment. She opts to travel across the country to Mayo Clinic. Greeted by a suited doc, he whips out his binocular magnifier and before looking her over he reads her medical record. Reading the chart first…Hmmmm he says, this one looks suspicious. Wendy says WHAT? He says we should cut this one out. She says, you are looking at a flawed biopsy and we need to take another biopsy, not cut my TIT up. She says, can we have a look at it with a Molescope. He says, we have one, but my eyes are better. Wendy walks out.
I realized that at one point there were six doctors, two assistants, and Wendy in the room. I said the receptionist, “now that was a fair fight!”
Now for what I see will happen in the near future…like next year!
I will use my iPhone 7 plus to take closeup pictures of moles and any regularities using a Molescope ll which I purchased on Amazon for $299. This is the fun part for me! We will upload the images that we also mapped onto her body locations. An AI programs scan the images in real-time looking both at a visible light picture and the thermal image as well. In real-time it looks for irregular shapes and ‘hot’ moles. In real-time, it pops up a window with green lettering that says “nothing suspicious.” Recommends a reshoot of certain moles in 6 months.
6 months later I get to reshoot and upload again. In real-time, a red window pops up with four suspicious moles that are now ‘hot’ and has grown irregularly. Immediately a window pops up asking her a zip code for where she is now because the AI software knows she is constantly traveling. She types in 92102. The AI software pops up a screen that looks like expedia.com. It says in a Siri voice, “Choose a date and time to schedule a biopsy.” She says, speaking to Siri, “I see tomorrow at 2 pm is open. Can you book that.” Siri says, “I have scheduled your biopsy and forwarded your medical records with the images and location for the biopsies.” Siri, “Would you like me to book a car to pick you up?” “Yes,” Wendy says.
The next day the car arrives at 1:30p and she arrives 5 minutes before her appointment. She thinks, “Funny, the place has no waiting room, no disinterested receptionist behind a shut glass window and there is a man that has an iPad that greets her. “Hello, Ms. Steele.” Wendy says, “How did you know it was me?” He says, “Apples new face recognition software identified you and brought your records up on the iPad.” “WOW,” she says.
Wendy asks if he is a nurse. He answers, “no, I am an engineer.” He leads her into a room and asks her to sit in a chair that looks like something in a SpaceX capsule. She says, “When will the doctor be in to do the biopsy?” He laughs, and says’ “The doctor is here.” As he points to a robotic arm. Wendy actually relaxes because she is no stranger to doctors, but also is relieved that this robot has no ego.
“So what is going to happen now,” she says. He says, “I see you have four suspicious areas from the initial scan. The robot will scan these suspicious areas again to see if the more high powered sensors confirm the scanned irregularities.” The what? “Here, watch this 2-minute video and at the end, you can ask me any questions you have.” She watches and has no questions. It is all covered and she is now curious to get started.
The robot begins to work by first positioning its arm in front of her face. Siri’s voice says, “I am scanning to make sure that you are Wendy Steele and will map the locations of the irregularities.” Siri says, “Welcome Wendy Steele, I will start now.” Siri starts and says, “Hmm.” Wendy says “WHAT?” Siri says, “Haha a bit of Siri humor!” “Now relax, this will take about a minute.” The arm swings to the first mole. Siri says, “this one is okay.” The arm moves to the next mole. Siri says, “This one is okay as well.” The arm moves to the third mole. Siri says, “This one does not look right and we will come back to it for a closer look.” On to the fourth, Siri says, “This one is okay as well.” Back to the third, the robot moves in close and relooks at the mole. Siri says, “This one looks like a basil cell carcinoma and I would like to do a Mohs style biopsy. Do you agree to the biopsy?” Wendy says, “Yes, do I need to sign something?” Siri says, “No, I recognize your voice print and you only have to say, I agree.” Wendy says “I agree.” The robot swabs a topical anesthetic waits for 60 seconds and then injects a subdermal anesthetic.
On the screen in from of her, a 4k video of an undersea adventure pops up for her to enjoy while she waits the four minutes for the anesthetic to take effect. See Siri knows Wendy is a swimmer and the undersea video relaxes her while her favorite chill artists, Thievery Corporation, plays “Lebanese Blonde.”
The video ends and the robot swings in on the mole. It uses a new form of Mohs surgery. Rather than taking a biopsy and checking for clear cancer-free margins and then a larger biopsy plug, Siri tells Wendy, “I am going to take a dozen small needle biopsies around the mole where I think clear margins should be. Then I will use a small robotic knife that removes the mole and test it in real-time. If all is clear, I will glue the site closed and you will be done.”
The process begins as Wendy strains to look away as her curiosity peaks. Two minutes and it was done. Siri says, “Wendy you are done. I have posted your calendar with a reminder to take another picture of the area next week so I can see that everything is healing properly.
20-minute start to finish and Wendy steps into the waiting car for her return ride with only a small dot bandage on her arm. She thinks a glass of wine would be nice. After all, no big bandage with instructions to keep the arm elevated. Yes, wine sounds good and asks Siri on her Apple Watch 3, “Siri, where is a good wine bar near me with Tapas?” Siri says, “I like the Vampire Lounge on Santa Monica Blvd. Would you like to go there?” Wendy says, “Yes!” Siri says, “I have loaded the destination on the cars CarPlay Maps®. You will be there in 5 minutes.”
Far fetched? NO! …and yes it is coming soon.
The simplest way to describe it is when the check engine light comes on in Wendy’s Corvette Grand Sport, she takes it to the nearest Corvette dealership. They greet her, take the car, fix it and return her on her way in a matter of minutes. All day, every day. Shouldn’t healthcare be the same?
Impersonal? No way. I would choose Siri over an intern doctor that probably has not slept in 18 hours and is being trained using 25-year-old techniques.
Lastly, they say medicine is an art. That’s NICE! I believe it needs to be a science and Apple is on its way to making it so.
The FDA has given Apple a Fast Track allowance. Seems as though it is a pretty tame and low-end allowance though. We will see if Apple will go rogue.
A Bit of Advise! Run Out and Buy Apple Stock Now!
When Wall Street gets its head out of its own proverbial healthcare ass and realizes what Apple has created, they will bail like fleeing rats from the healthcare systems ship.
Authors Note: I have a vested interest in Wendy’s health and safety. Her example herein is our story of how Tim Cook’s Apple will affect us personally. I sat down for 30 minutes and typed on my iPad non-stop listing industries and markets the iPhone cameras, sensors and Apple Watch will create and enable. The current heart monitor in the Apple Watch WILL save lives worldwide. Add AI and we can turn painfully slow experiences into instant experiences. Apple’s Augmented Reality, Siri and Sensors in its products will revolutionize many industries. Apple is no longer an entertainment company with Tweets, Facebook and picture sharing. It will be the largest medical device company in the world in five years or less. After all, it only took 2.5 years for it to become the worlds largest producer of watches…and now those watches an Apple are on the FDA Fast Track medical device program.
Authors Notes: This article was inspired by Tim Cook at Apple. During his keynote presentation introducing the Apple Watch 3 and iPhone X, there were numerous referrals to medical technology and health. So, I decided to take a quick look at any and all advancements that related to our own healthcare scare. Wendy’s Melanoma was a wakeup call that would not be forgotten. I looked at the Apple Watch and iPhone technology as it relates to our skin. It is a road to this article that was clear, wide, paved and well signage. It took me all of an hour to research and another hour to write. Imagine if I really dug deep into what is possible. The next couple of years will be amazing!
Again, this is just one tiny segment of the medical market. No brainer how impactful Apple will be.
Another fine point is how the Apple Watch has improved our daily health from just our Healthkit and Activity app mapping. It is very interesting to monitor your heart and exercising. Just beware the “Open Rings” syndrome…that in a future article.
Truth be told, I trust Apple with my medical information more than some local doctors office
Bob Root is a former Silicone Valley Tech CEO and is the founder of Keys Care and Applied Alchemy products companies. He is a member of the World Future Society and has briefed military and business leaders on the use of mesh network nanobots, neural networks, AI drones and advanced AI medical systems. He is an author and speaker of diverse futurist subjects.
Disclaimer: Bob was affiliated with Apple in the early days of the Macintosh and was a vendor to Apple while in Silicon Valley.
As always, this article is the thoughts and view of Bob Root and not that of Keys or Orion Learning Intl., Inc.