The adoption of technology advances is typically 20% about the technology itself, and 80% about the social context. User expectations and experiences, together with the regulatory, financial and political environments, have significant impacts on the path to adoption.
Obviously something must be technically feasible for it to happen. We can be fairly comfortable that mobile devices will have the necessary ubiquity, processing and networking capabilities, coupled with cloud-infrastructure support, based on a broad technology advances that are well underway and serve far more than health needs. Almost everyone has or will have cloud-connected smartphones and/or their adjuncts and successors (e.g. smart watches, Google Glass, etc.).
The necessary sensor technologies are less clear, as new technological approaches will be required. For many people it is simply not clear how current one-time medical tests can be replaced by tests that are orders of magnitude cheaper and can be performed automatically with little or no input from the user. Completely new approaches will be required. What those are and when they will be achieved is hard to predict.
I therefore found some comments by Chamath Palihapitiya at this year’s LAUNCH festival, very interesting. He talked about a company, Integrated Plasmonics, currently developing a $100 mobile mass spectrometer for blood testing that would replace a $600,000 laboratory machine and measure many blood-derived parameters in three minutes or less. It might be used in a Doctor’s office for immediate testing, or even at home for routine self-testing. The video is well worth watching: