The Future Of Exponential Technology In Healthcare: Jack Kreindler8 min read

Jack Kreindler at TEDxGatewaySalon
Jack Kreindler at TEDxGatewaySalon

Full Text of Jack Kreindler’s talk: The Future Of Exponential Technology In Healthcare at TEDxGatewaySalon conference.

Dr. Jack Kriendler is known for his expertise in exponential healthcare technologies & human performance. In this talk he lays down the future of how exponential technologies in medicine & healthcare have the power to redefine the future of the healthcare scenario across the world.


Dr. Jack Kriendler – Physician, Physiologist and Serial Technology Entrepreneur  

So what is the most intelligent species in the universe?

It turns out that it’s not humans, it’s mice. and millions of years ago, this hyper-intelligent band, pan-dimensional beings got so bored knowing all there was to know about the universe, they decided to create a stupendous supercomputer in order to calculate the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything.

And the computer they built was called deep thought that spent 6.8 million years computing all the data in the universe to finally find an answer: the ultimate meaning of life, the universe, and everything.

And what was the answer?

Cultured Audience.

Exactly, which is the difference between data and wisdom. But that’s a talk for another time.

This of course was a famous story by the late great Douglas Adams who happened to have given me my first job whilst I was still training in medical school.

And Douglas talked about a brilliant thing in his book The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. He talked about a device that would help all of us. 50 years from when he wrote it to be able to navigate our way through life. It was about this big, it had a touch screen. It contained all the knowledge and wisdom in the galaxy within it. And it wasn’t written by authorities. It was written by all of us. Now who here has got a Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy in their pocket. I think everyone has.

Douglas was an incredible inspiration to me and to also the whole world of technology. and what he was talking about were the exponential changes that we were going to see in data and computation that would help us unravel many things.

Also, in my profession of medicine, for instance, we went from the launch of the World Wide Web to decoding the human genome in just eight years. When previously for a hundred, we had gotten almost nowhere with data.

Exponential advances… But where is this going to take us with respect to medicine? 

Well, this a hundred years ago was a state-of-the-art in Bombay. You could go to the pharmacy and you could get squibs- malaria medication. And you had doctors like William K Kellogg’s, the guy who invented corn flakes. His brother Harvey was going around doing all sorts of stuff. It would be struck off doing today, but that was the state of the art.

Fast forward a hundred years to today, and quite remarkable things have happened just in the last few years. Professor [indiscernable] from Oxford using computer vision to look at old CT scans to finally see why it is that so many people, especially in India, die of heart disease, even though they haven’t got any plaque in the arteries. completely invisible to the naked eye until very recently.

So with all these exponentials, where will we be in a hundred years time from now?

ALSO READ:  What is a MedTech: How MedTech can Truly Democratize Health Access

Well, to answer that question, I’m going to go back in time to even before Hippocrates to my favorite point in history. I hope you all know what that is. Let’s see. 


Who’s this?

A very cultured audience. Yes, Darth Vader represents to me the future of modern medical technology.

And here’s why:

He had a hundred percent burns, multiorgan failure, no arms and no legs, some psychological issues, some minor problems. And of course, not formally diagnosed… but you get the drift.

And yet with biotechnology machine learning and a bunch of senses, Darth Vader was not only able to live life to the full, but also to rule the galaxy. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that he is an example of modern medical technology. but it wasn’t him, that inspired me. It was his line manager, Emperor Palpatine played of course, by the great Ian McDermott, the Shakespearian actor.

Who unfortunately in 2008 suffered, fortunately, a not fatal heart attack on the stage during the press opening of a play. His managers called us up and said, “look, you’ve put all these kinds of sensors on formula one drivers and athletes. Can’t you tell us when our actors are going to have a problem.”

And we said, “yes, but it would cost about $10,000 an hour and there’d be wires everywhere and batteries. So, well, probably not.”

But it got us thinking. Just as an aside, a personal thing here, this is the most important message anyone has ever sent me from the Emperor himself wishing me happy new year and hoping my Jedi instincts are still intact. This is when I officially became the Imperial physician.

But I don’t work on the Death Star. I actually work in my medical Institute in London with 50 other people. And we’ve worked with elite athletes and people doing extreme, extreme things, including celebrities running 43 marathons in 50 days or others who wants to swim the channel.

And also rather interesting experiments like this one- where I was thrown in a cage with a heavyweight cage fighter in order to see where the rest ice compression and elevation really worked. I lost. But, seriously, we apply what we learn, not only to athletes but also to the very sick as people, including those with cancer. 

And we’re able to improve outcomes by early detecting things going wrong, but only with a huge amount of data, much like we do in aviation. The following shows that if you plot some of the metrics which we measure, you can actually tell when someone is going to die. yYu can move the curve along by doing good things, but it’s incredibly powerful data, much like we use an aircraft.

This is the 787 that I flew over to India on very safely and very efficiently mind. It produced 1000 gigabytes of data in its journey. That’s a hundred million pages of paper.

By 2025, we will produce 100,000 million gigabytes a year from the aviation industry. That’s 300,000 million pages a second. That is why aviation is so safe and so efficient.

But this was the state of the art when I was born: height and weight every year… Would you get in an aircraft hadn’t been checked for 50 years.

ALSO READ:  Financial Inclusion in the Information Age: Udayan Goyal

Because that’s how long we wait before we start measuring ourselves. 

Fast forward to 2014: exponential technology applications. We built a system that could take loads of different bio-sensors, including this one- Robby Savage and Alan Shearer sat on every seat in Wembley stadium. And we could tell the Alan Shearer was going to win two days in advance because of the signal.

This is a device that for five days can measure ECG, respiratory rate, heart rate, heart rate variability, stress, body posture, accelerometry – $10,000 an hour, just 10 years ago.

How much today? I’m wearing one. Now I could take it off and I could throw it away. A dollar a day, exponentially advancing technologies.

This is a very important point. We’re spending trillions of dollars on healthcare and about a third of it is completely wasted. We have to do something about it. And our thesis is that we can save trillions of dollars eventually for about a dollar a day. 

Health systems are wasting a tremendous amount of money. Whereas India though, India is only spending 1.6% of its GDP. So in order to prove outcomes, surely we just make the country richer and spend more money.

But the answer is no, because the ‘richer you get, the sicker you get.’

Three times more likely to have diabetes, 50% higher hypertension rates, 1100% greater obesity problems the richer you get. Wealth is not the answer.

The problem is that we suffer from aging. We are all getting older and for crack, that part of biology is a data and computation problem we’re working on, but we’re far away from it. And even if we crack that, there’s also health systems. They’re complex too. And if we crack that, then there’s politics. 

So maybe we should all move to California. The home of medical technology, the place where exponentials all began, but there are problems in America too. Regulation is there to protect us. But also it stops us from moving. Or perhaps we can let go of all regulation together and then we end up in other problems.

We’re between a rock and a hard place, but I believe we can strike a balance. We shouldn’t panic because we do have the power of exponential technologies that are happening, even if we like it or not. So please don’t underestimate the power of exponential technologies. Please do not underestimate the power of yourselves and please never underestimate the power of the dark side.

Before I go, I want to tell you a story about a patient of ours. And it’s an important one because all of this about big health systems and trillions of dollars and so forth is irrelevant unless we can apply it to human beings and start doing that today.

This woman was a patient who in 2011, couldn’t get pregnant. Actually she asked us if we knew any specialists. I said, “well, I’m going to pick out a piece of technology and find some few.”

And within a couple of days, she had seen a fertility specialist who said to her, “well, can’t see anything wrong. I’m going to start you on fertility treatment. But before I do, I’ve just got a hunch. I don’t know why I’m going to do an MRI scan of your uterus.”

And she came back with the answer to us that she either had a normal uterus that was a bit thicker, or she had tuberculosis of the womb. How could that be so radically different in today’s age, couldn’t understand it.

ALSO READ:  Reimagining the Way We Use Social Media: Christina Olivarez

The specialist decided to do an exploratory investigation because this was a bit weird. And so off protocol, he did the investigation and he gave her the answer, the answer to why she couldn’t pregnant the answer to why she could never get pregnant. And that’s what, and that’s because she had cancer throughout the entirety of her womb. 

An emergency operation was planned. Her chances of pregnancy dashed, but just before she did, she asked us to get together some people. And we got mathematicians together, not doctors, to determine whether it would spread through one quick emergency cycle of IVF to harvest some eggs, to put them on ice, to give her a chance.

And she did. And then she had an operation and she got back even worse news. It was ovarian cancer that had spread to her uterus. She was given a terrible prognosis of a year or two to live. And so she asked for our help again.

And once again, with exponential technology, we gave her an answer. We sequenced quite cheaply, both tissues from both our ovary and her uterus. And we determined that it hadn’t spread from the ovary to the uterus. She didn’t need a yet bigger operation and nine months of chemo that probably wouldn’t have made a difference.

The gene sequence showed that she had two genetically diverse cancers. They were not the same cancer. She had 2 Stage- 1 a primaries. And by removing them, she lived.

She was not cured by MEDICINE. She was cured by DATA

In late 2013, this happened: Surrogate mother was kind enough to carry her child and had become pregnant.

And on may the first 2014, this happened: She received her child who was born from a surrogate mother.

And that date is a date I remember very well because just a few days before I received really what was the most important text message of my life.

And that was this: ‘Everyone’s looking for you, please come home.’

I asked, “Is there anything serious?”

And she said, “Yes, your daughter is about to be born.” 

This lady is not my patient, she is my wife and Sienna is our baby daughter.

And the reason I wanted to share this story with you is because it’s incredibly important for us when we talk about all these technologies to not just think about big systems and how much money we can make, or how much money we can save.

But to remember that we have to use all our, of our efforts to put these things into place today because individual lives counts on it, not only to save costs and so forth but sometimes to save lives by doing less sometimes to save lives by doing something. And sometimes even to not just save a life, but to create new ones. 

Thank you

–  Dr. Jack Kriendler

Jack Kreindler’s talk: The Future Of Exponential Technology In Healthcare at TEDxGatewaySalon