Consequences of Healthcare Convergence
I love films like Fritz Lang's Metropolis that are centred on the ultimate machine that resembles a bodge of a steam engine, a badly wired fuse box and the contents of a mad scientist's lab. So, it was a treat to visit an exhibition on Modernism in London.
A 1919 quote from Walter Gropius, a member of the era's hugely influential Bauhaus, caught my eye:
The old forms are in ruins. The benumbed world is shaken up, the old human spirit is invalidated and in flux towards a new form.
For a recently-published article on the flux in healthcare to a new form, convergence, I spoke to Microsoft's John Coulthard, Director of Healthcare, UK. He thinks predictive DNA testing, wireless communications and burgeoning diagnostic and monitoring devices herald a decisive shift from the management of late-onset disease to prophylaxis.
The Modernists were also inspired by a form of convergence. They found the separation of Art, Craft and Design artificial and admired the machine as the epitome. Le Corbusier, another of the movement's leaders, even described homes as "machines for living".
Today's acute hospitals may be "machines for health"...but that doesn't seem to follow, because they are centred on the management of illness, which, if Mr. Coulthard is right, makes them obsolescent.
Healthcare in the 21-Century is a new form. Though founded on technology, it will be less like a machine and more dispersed, amorphous and pluralistic. Not focussed on managing illness, but on maintaining health.