As technology continues to change, so too does the practice of medicine. Medicine benefits from new technology in a huge way—arthroscopic surgeries, non-invasive surgeries are all things that have benefitted the medical field as technology has changed.
A new device that is in the works is an implantable antenna. It would use new wireless technologies and allow for patient care to occur outside of the doctor’s office. According to an article in Wired,” New low-power wireless technologies make it possible to implant monitoring devices in people's bodies, to help keep an eye on blood pressure, metabolism and other vital statistics”.
While this seems like a great idea, there is huge challenge that the creators need to overcome in order for this to be a success. According to the article, “one of the challenges of these new wireless devices is designing a suitable antenna that can operate within the human body where fat, muscle and skin tissue create challenging conditions for wireless signals”. This antenna must also be to work in various conditions, as each person’s body is different from the next.
The implantable antenna uses “the 402-405MHz Medical Implant Communications Service (MICS) frequency band. Combined with a custom integrated chip or a system on a chip, device makers can use the antenna in pacemakers, neurostimulation devices, and swallow-able imaging and diagnostic systems.” The device would also allow for doctors to follow blood pressure, heart rate, metabolism and numerous other vital functions.
This has the potential to change patient care. It would be a paradigm shift, as people who were implanted with this device would no longer need to go to the doctor for a routine check-up. Doctors could do it all on-line. Would this eliminate the need for general practitioners? Would it create a new specialty—one that would have to do with digital monitoring of these wireless antennas? As in the article by Malone, would this encourage a group of those who monitor vitals to work together in an electronic way? Is this a new form of collective intelligence?
Another question I have about this is does it have the potential to turn into a “Big Brother” situation, where employers or government workers are able to monitor vitals of whoever they chose?