Would you trust software with your health?

Would you trust software with your health?

There are an abundance of creative people in Cannes these days, as Cannes Lions 2016 is being held. Many creative people from many different industries are gathered there to discuss the future of advertising and technology, as well as the industries that those two are changing. 

Turkey’s only chance to win an award this year is the “Sea Cemetery” work by TBWA/Istanbul. The work is a cemetery on the sea, with each stone representing a refugee who has died trying to cross over to Europe. 
I wish them good luck. 

Every year, Cannes Lions opens important debates around the main topics that will shape our future. 

This year, the main topic that got my attention was the relationship between technology and health. 

Omnicom Health Group leader Jo Ann Saitta said the leading healthcare company in five to seven years is going to be a software company. This is a huge bet considering the size of the big medicine companies and global hospital chains. 

However, no current healthcare company has the ability to serve billions of customers. A software company can do that, given the agility and scalability of software. 

Alex Butler from The Earthworks claimed that smart phones are just as important to healthcare improvement as vaccines. I totally agree with him, especially in Africa, where the distance to a doctor can be measured in days and a smart phone that can help a doctor diagnose from a distance can mean saving lots of lives. 

Graham Palmer of IBM Interactive Experience underlined a sad fact. He said, “There is a role for AI in diagnosis, because most clinicians are poor at it.” I do not know if this would offend clinicians, but if someone from IBM who talks with data is stating a fact in public, it means that there is a strong basis for the claim.
Given the fact that many software companies are pushing for personalized devices to gather data from your wrist or your smart phone to analyze what’s going on with your body and report it back to your doctor, and with many recent technological devices that can test your blood at home, we can safely say that the future of medicine will be very different than what we are used to. 

People are quickly overcoming the physiological barrier too. If I had asked the question in the title of this article a few years ago, I am sure the number of negative answers would have been much higher. 

It is not a question of if but when. Sooner or later software companies will take over the healthcare industry too.