Alan Moretti, Healthcare Technology Management Advisor
In our consumer-driven society, Americans demand more value for their dollars, which puts size in the spotlight. There is a mantra that “bigger is better.” Today’s average new home measures 2,225 square feet, up 50 percent from 1,500 square feet in 1970. We’re driving monster cars – some of the most popular SUVs measure 17 feet long and tip the scales at 4,850 pounds. The “in-home movie theater” concept has translated to 60-inch or larger smart televisions becoming a common sight in homes across our great country. Warehouse clubs allow people to save by buying in bulk. Fast-food restaurants have beefed up portions. What once constituted medium-sized French fries is now considered “small.” Do we chalk it up to a bettering economy, the lowering prices of “new technologies” or human nature and trying to keep up with the Joneses? Before you jump on the bigger-is-better bandwagon, mull this over: the size of U.S. households is shrinking. In the 1970s the average household included 3.14 people, but in the 21st century, thus far, the average size is 2.33!
The world of current day healthcare technology parallels this phenomena where “bigger” is actually becoming smaller and better! Think about the physical size of today’s patient monitoring, ventilators, defibrillators and the latest ultrasound equipment that utilizes a “tablet-sized” box or a smartphone in which the transducer communicates wirelessly. The “footprint” of these examples shows how the physical size of devices, by my estimate of 30 percent or more, compares to earlier models. Models that are only about a decade old.
Let’s talk about early personal computers. They didn’t have “hard drives” or “cloud storage” instead, they relied on “floppy disks” for storing the few kilobits of data needed. In 1981, a new start-up company called “Apple” introduced its first hard drive touting a whopping 5MB of data for about $3,499. Using that same pricing ratio today one gigabyte of storage, which is hardly enough to store a few photos today, would cost about $700,000.
So, my HTM brothers and sisters, our world of medical equipment technologies continues to advance at speeds that sometimes the naked eye does not see until it is in front us. The “footprint” size and configurations of medical equipment have shrunk when compared to earlier models. Along with these miniaturizations of medical equipment is an advancing intelligence and some very important buzz words to familiarize yourself such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT) because “bigger is getting smaller!”
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