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Technology Will Set Health Reform Free

Stocks in this article: MSFT GOOG MDRX CERN MCK WAG CVS

Khosla writes that in just a few years their customers will be able to buy "digital first aid kits" for just $100 with apps that monitor "blood pressure, A1c levels, ECG waveforms, blood oxygen levels, skin/ear/ENT conditions, social interaction, and other indicators of how well patients are managing their diabetes, asthma, depression, and other chronic conditions." Drug stores would then become "healthcare service stations" where the data can be analyzed and people given real care at low cost.

How good are these software programs? Indiana University researchers say modern predictive modeling can cut costs by 50% and improve patient outcomes by 40%. The Journal of the Medical Information Association says up to 25% of key data in doctors' notes isn't being acted on, sometimes for as long as two years, delaying diagnoses like cancer, heart attack and other life-threatening conditions. Getting these "machine" conclusions before doctors at the point of treatment will speed care and save lives, the journal writes. So will getting them into the hands of nurses and pharmacists, I might add.

Despite all the efforts to stymie health reform, in other words, technology is coming. Patients with access to monitoring, who can get data analyzed, live longer and cost the system less. The opportunities are just now coming into focus, and whether real reform comes from Washington, Wall Street, or Silicon Valley, it's going to happen.

At the time of publication, the author was long MSFT and GOOG.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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