Ricochet's George Savage is too modest to post this, which is fine because I'd like to do the honors:
From the latest issue of Popular Science:
As a doctor, George Savage had the power to save lives, but part of his job still made him feel helpless: After patients left the hospital, he had no way of knowing if they were taking their medications. According to the World Health Organization, patients fail to use their prescriptions properly at least half the time.
It was a former grad-school housemate, Andrew Thompson, who brought Savage a solution. While perusing vendors at an American Heart Association meeting in 2004, Thompson noticed a glut of technology demonstrations on the device side, but a dearth on the drug side. “The only tech on display was a cappuccino machine,” he says. Inspired, the pair set to work with electrical engineer Mark Zdeblick to digitize medicine. Their Proteus Digital Health Feedback System, a blend of MEMS and wireless data transfer, could take the guesswork out of drug delivery for good.
It took the team seven years to create the centerpiece of the Feedback System, a pill that doubles as a radio. “The biggest question was, What types of materials would the FDA allow us to use?” Zdeblick says. “So we decided to use [ones from] a vitamin.” Small amounts of copper and magnesium conduct enough electricity (1.5 volts) to power a one-millimeter chip. When a pill containing the chip hits the stomach, the metals interact with stomach fluid to generate a current. The current transmits to a 2.5-inch patch on the patient’s torso, which relays the signal as binary code to his phone over Bluetooth. An app will determine the pill’s serial number, manufacturer, and ingredients, and saves that data to the cloud. Doctors will eventually be able to set up automatic alerts when adherence problems arise.
Wait a minute. Innovation? In health care?
Yes. There is. Or was. Innovation and entrepreneurial risk-taking are essential to every business, and even more so in the most important business of all: health. What's amazing about what George's company is doing is that it's so ... not amazing. It's the perfect kind of invention -- when you hear about it, you don't say, "Oh man! That blows my mind!" You say: "Of course!"
The questions are: 1) How much more innovation can we expect in the future, with government control and oversight of the entire medical industry? And 2) How can a generation of young people growing up in a world where technology is all about customization and setting personal preferences accept an Obamacare world, a world where one-size-fits-all, where the behemoth of the state is untouched by competition, technological disruption, or consumer empowerment?
Why do we demand excellent customer service from Amazon, but accept being pushed around by the federal government? Why do we set our preferences on our iPhone, but allow the government to set them for us in our retirement savings and our health care?