Drivers for innovation
New imperatives of healthcare are focusing on prevention, personalization of diagnostics and treatment, and democratization, including access to everyone, anywhere, anytime at a low cost. This imperative is based on two pillars: ubiquitously distributed (decentralized) diagnostics tools for capturing the health status and processing of the data into personalized, readily accessible and actionable health information. The decentralized diagnostics tools will require low power, connected, commercial mobility devices driving affordable high-tech, low cost microfluidics cartridges, technically similar to the microfluidics cartridges for inkjet printers, to interrogate by biochemical means the health status. The clinically relevant data obtained will be processed on-site to provide immediate insight into the patient’s health condition. The technology convergence in medicine is enabled by the powerful combination of microelectronics, microfluidics, distributed network and data analytics (see fig. 3).
Technology convergence in medicine
Fig. 3: Technology convergence in medicine enables decentralization of medical technologies (Image credit: HP)
Our assets for democratization of medicine
At HP we have the privilege of legacy and leadership in the technology arenas which are needed so urgently in the healthcare industry: microfluidics, measurement, commercial mobility, and computing. As the world’s largest microfluidics company we have the know-how, scale, and leverage from our print business by making sophisticated microfluidics cartridges for healthcare diagnostics. Adding micro-scale sensors, precision programmable fluidics and embedded electronic systems to the microfluidic chip to interrogate human biology and interface the biometric data with a device for read-out and data communication are fairly simple to implement. Hence, our unique economy of scale of microfluidics cartridges and global reach have the potential to democratize diagnostics effectively. In an ideal world, data will be processed into useful information on-site. The recently released HP Elite X3, is truly the next wave of computing! Turning the Elite X3 into the data center and processing on-site healthcare data into contextual information will enable everyone to access personalized medical information. Health information consolidation, big data analytics, and machine learning in the cloud will offer new insights into human health. This will improve healthcare delivery, compliance and treatment outcomes. Precision Medicine will drastically improve quality of life due to an individualized treatment and recovery rates. Today’s Imprecision Medicine wastes billions of dollars on inappropriate, error prone and ineffective drug administration and treatment (see fig. 4).
Edge compute diagnostics democratizes medicine
Fig. 4: What does the future hold? How about miniature diagnostic labs which attach to smart-devices (Image credit: HP)
HP’s vision for healthcare diagnostics
Our unique offerings as HP include the high level of vertical integration capabilities and a wide range of assets from microfluidics to commercial mobility devices with imaging and compute capability, which enables us to build an ecosystem of measurement devices and cartridges for the diagnostics of the human condition. As those measurements are currently, and will continue to be based on body fluids such as blood and saliva, single-use patient sample cartridges will unravel a substantial supplies business in analogy to our print business. Our razor/razorblade business has been the role model for the entire consumables-driven in the in-vitro diagnostics industry. Along with strong, strategic partners in pharma and diagnostics we will be able to address the healthcare industry at a global level (see fig. 5).
Fig. 5: A prototype concept showing an HP commercial mobility device with receptacle for interfacing with a hi-tech microfluidic chip (Image Credit: HP).
The insert shows a microfluidic cartridge (similar in size to a glucose strip) consisting of a silicon microfluidic chip with embedded microsensors for interrogating specific biomarkers in body fluids.