Cisco’s 2010 eHealth Predictions

The first decade of the 21st century is here! For the agog-types, it is the infamous year of the White Tiger and the 21st Winter Olympic Games, which will take place in our beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. With this first article of the year, I won’t focus on your New Year resolutions or the gadgets that can help you keep them in check; rather, I follow Nostradamus in predicting a few changes to the fields of eHealth and Technology-Enabled Knowledge Translation.

Last year we saw the Netbook, e-Book Reader, and App Phone (short for mobile phone with a downloadable application) proliferate. This year, my Bluetooth LED ball shows four transformations coming:

1. F(Web 2.0 AND Medicine)PubMed. We will see the first exponential growth of peer-review literature relating to Web 2.0 in medicine. Figures 1 and 2 (below) were featured in a recent article published last year by a fellow tweep and emerging technologies librarian @pfanderson.1 I believe the data speaks for itself.

2. Augmented reality (AR) comes to your pocket. If you are wondering what AR is all about, don’t worry, chances are that you are not alone. In essence, it is the nexus of physical and sensory worlds with web-based information. For example, AED4EU is an application created by a friend of mine, @zorg20, which allows anyone who finds a person in cardiac arrest to point their phone and while using the camera; GPS and Internet data merge on the screen (Figure 3) to help you can find the closest sparky (Automatic External Defibrillator). This will ultimately decrease the time-to-shock ratio where there is a 10% decrease in the likelihood of resuscitation with each passing minute.

3. Embedded sensors get cheap! Wearable sensors like the fitbit allow you to track sleep, exercise, calories burned, and wirelessly upload your data to the net automagically; best of all, they cost less than a hundred dollars. Thus, we will see a ubiquity of sensors come into the market that allow you to track of your dog, wife, and kids’ lives to the step. We will also see an increase in the number of clinical trials that use these gadgets.

4. Social media policies come out of the closet. 2010 will bifurcate our social media use. Health regions, universities, and professional health-related associations will do one of two: A) run away and deem Facebook/Twitter the source of all evil; respectively “banning” the use of Social Media almost completely; or B) they will train their staff to use social media in a responsible manner and allow an enhanced patient-clinician relationship. McMaster University’s new Medical School policy is an early example of this is where, any medical student or staff who uploads a picture to a social media site in an inappropriate environment, or that, which propagates alcohol use, will automatically be placed on academic probation.

As the old Mexican saying states: “We will see, said the blind man.” In the meantime, have a very successful New Year!


Works Cited:

[1] Anderson et al. An Online and Social Media Training Curricula to Facilitate Bench-to-Bedside Information Transfer. Positioning the Profession: the Tenth International Congress on Medical Librarianship (2009) pp. 1-11.


I would like to thank @roboethics for reviewing the first few drafts of this post.

Editorial Note:

This article was written for the column “The 2.0 Factor: Musings of a Hyperconnected world” in the TICr.

February 25th, 2010 | Articles by me, e-Public Health, English

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