11/4 – Next steps in health & medicine – where can technology take us? (a TEDx Talk)

In Next steps in health & medicine – where can technology take us? (a TEDx Talk), Daniel Kraft argues the importance of technology in the advancement of both preventive and comprehensive healthcare. Specifically, Kraft shows the distinction between sick care v. healthcare and how society can move towards a better healthcare structure.

Kraft argues how technology can disrupt the healthcare industry and make healthcare more continuous, inexpensive, and accessible. Kraft is the Founding Executive Director for Exponential Medicine, which is a program that champions the intersection of technology and healthcare. During his TEDx Talk, he emphasizes how every single individual can play a role in the future of healthcare and technology. It was noted that the current role of healthcare in the United States is currently reactive and is thought to be important when you are sick/need to get better. With advancing health technology (such as wearable step trackers or sleep monitors), Kraft shows how we all can practice healthcare over sick care. Furthermore, Kraft argues that our wearable technology might one day become ‘insideables.’ When technology is collecting our personalized healthcare data, Kraft said we must make sense of what it means and how to best use it. With technology becoming so embedded and widespread in healthcare, Kraft suspects that crowdsourcing and information sharing will become more prevalent and impactful. 

The arguments and thoughts presented in this TEDx talk were interesting and well-defended, but some things created hesitation for me. The topic of technology in healthcare is extremely relevant, especially considering the boom of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, many people have Apple Watches and use Fitbits for health purposes, so it is an important aspect of everyday technology use. Kraft covered a few different examples of interactive health technology, including a technologically advanced diaper. Personally, I think that a diaper with technology features might be too novel and I would be hesitant to use that for my own child. Furthermore, I think that technology advancements in healthcare have the potential to widen the gap of existent healthcare disparities that are present in our society. It is the most privileged people in our society that experience advancements first, so I think there needs to be initiatives to eradicate these healthcare gaps while also advancing healthcare technology simultaneously.

4 thoughts on “11/4 – Next steps in health & medicine – where can technology take us? (a TEDx Talk)

  1. Hi Megan! You gave such a great summary of this article! I completely agree with your thoughts on technologically advanced diapers. I could never picture myself putting that on my child. But then again, I could see myself constantly worrying about the health of my child so if it would relieve some of the anxiety I might use it. I know I have mentioned this in many of our class discussions but I often think about when is technology going to be too much? Is society ever going to say that we need to stop technology from invading our lives any more than it already has? Like you, I fear that it is already causing many problems not only with healthcare disparities but with mental health as well.

  2. Very interesting critique, Megan. You pose an interesting point about the gap in accessibility between privileged and underprivileged members of society, and we even see this gap in healthcare without the existence of special technologies devoted to this purpose. Another thing that I thought about while reading your critique is a generational gap- would older generations have a harder time using and understanding healthcare technologies than younger ones?

  3. I completely agree with your analysis on this Ted Talk, and although I didn’t watch it, I think I have a pretty good sense of what Kraft was trying to explain. I think the intertwined nature of technology and healthcare can be extremely beneficial as well to help bridge the gap when it comes to health disparities, and that the technology we already have and use constantly can play a big role in helping strengthen this connection. But just as we talked about with robots, some of these concepts may be a little too early for invention and use in the present day. I think there are both positive and negative consequences to an increased relationship between technology and health care, and truthfully, I don’t know what side I would take on this issue.

  4. I really enjoyed your critique Megan. I agree with your stance on this article, especially about the wealth gap. I think the advancement of technology on the health front is great but implementing special technologies with a high price tag will only further divide our society. It relates to the digital divide that we’re seeing now as a country.

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