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  • Sensor Technology Will 'Transform' Medical Care
Apr 2004
SAN FRANCISCO, April 7 -- Just as sophisticated automobile sensors improve gas mileage and provide increased safety and protection for drivers and passengers, rapid advances in the use of smart sensors implanted in the human body promise to prevent deaths, ease pain and help the elderly live more independently, according to The Health Technology Center (HealthTech) in a new report, "The Future of Sensors for Monitoring."

HealthTech, a market research firm, said implantable and noninvasive sensors will decrease the need for centralized clinical laboratories, improve care for critically ill newborns, enable providers to focus more on prevention, help physicians make better decisions, enable families to monitor elderly relatives with chronic conditions and allow health plans to better monitor quality of care.

According to the report, in the next five to ten years smart sensors should be able to do such things as automatically activate an implanted insulin pump, release heart medications or regulate the heart rate by real-time monitoring of blood pressure and oxygen saturation. The study also examines three other categories of sensor technology: biometric monitoring, point-of-care testing and environmental monitoring.

"Smart sensors can reduce the cost of managing chronic diseases, which account for 70 percent of the nation's health budget," said Molly J. Coye, MD, president and CEO of HealthTech. "Though sensors have been around for years; only now are technologies converging in such a way that healthcare delivery will be changed dramatically."

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