Update: Google goes where Sanswire first cloud-trod
Posted July 26, 2007 by Ed Dodds, a Systems Architect at <Conmergence />
Occasionally John Casillas and I have chats about possible content for MBlog, the Medical Banking blog, and the various technological factors which are developing in parallel to the field of medical banking. One of my major themes (you’d have to ask him if he’s convinced yet) is that once one buys the premise of the distributed, digital enterprise there is really only one business domain – data. Every distinction people perceive is imposed by legal contrivance, legacy tradition and personal interest. If you buy this premise then the “bit” of the argument is that just because healthcare and finance (and indeed any other business) have been done in a particular manner, this is no real predictor of how they will function in the future.
The intersection of two technologies, XML and IP (extensible markup language and internet protocol) mean that just about any information source can be digitized and delivered anywhere. While not perfect technologies, they provide an interconnectivity platform which makes convergence and interoperability more possible now than at any previous time. Some of the developments that these technologies will enable and that will likely intersect medical banking are:
Collaborative intelligence tools:
Semantically informed proprietary and open source blogs, opensearch, portals, wikis ( think “web 2.0” ) will be coupled with “Z” models ( Zecco, Zillow, Zopa – think “finance 2.0” ) and global, mobile “intelligent mobs” (both actual and virtual, like Facebook, IndyMedia, MySpace, SecondLife) empowering consumer driven healthcare, class warfare and class action suits.
Corporate hierarchy consolidation pressure:
The adoption of open standards and balanced scorecards, compensation metrics and disclosure via universal charts of accounts and extensible business reporting language due to the SEC and media attention on C-suite fraud, insider trading, and hedge fund regulation will encourage per-worker productivity gains. Globalization and green politics will drive the adoption of work over IP, results-only work environments and long-lived transaction technologies will foster new financial instruments. Where standards exist, mergers happen. In the domain of data, this type of consolidation often requires the merger of infrastructure alone.
Terrorism fuels the political discourse but methamphetamine addiction-inspired identity theft rings are the actual cause of many current woes. Medical banking is already caught in the cross-winds of a digital ID storm as more consumers seek convenience for things like accessing money, healthcare records and even traveling through airports. The perfect storm is forming as “paper to digital” conversion gathers momentum, (much data leaving our shores using poor data encryption practices), and new technologies make this data ubiquitous. Business is off shoring, down-salarying IT functions, and thumb drives are literally as cheap as sand.
Ubiquitous global broadband connectivity (via 3G/4G, airship/dirigibles, broadband-in-gas, broadband over power lines, cable, DSL, Fiber to the home, fixed wireless, ISDN, Ultra Wide Band, WiFi, WiMax, satellite, etc.) means virtual medical tourism, distance medical education, remote disease sensing from automobile and home healthcare servers, laptops and smart phones will be able to offer voluntarily provided de-identified PHI to the medical banking data grid. Unified communications (email, H.323, IM, IVR, SIP, VOIP, etc.) as well as contactless payments, mobile payments and smart cards will also deluge data centers, which always seem to be located on or near fault lines, fires or floods.
Today, emerging technologies that are transforming political fault lines provide ample content for John and I to discuss. Sifting through it all to discover how transaction costs in healthcare can be rationalized using medical banking principles has become a hot topic. We can envision a sea of opportunity as technological convergence is manifested through new commercial programs that bring ever increasing value to our healthcare system using banks. From a technology head, medical banking has a long life span, many tentacles and a very promising future indeed.
Conmergence is a strategy consultancy facilitating convergence and enabling the distributed, digital enterprise. Dodds edits the Medical Banking Project’s MBlog.