Last week, the X Prize Foundation announced a new $10 million contest to develop a portable device that can diagnose a wide range of diseases with the same accuracy as a panel of board-certified physicians.
The details of the contest are still being worked out, but the goal is likely to be a device that can perform a number of diagnostic tests and combine these with artificial intelligence to determine whether a subject has a particular malady. Such a device could help those who lack access to traditional medical services—and streamline access to specialty care in traditional medical treatment.
"Imagine a world where people get funneled to the right part of a complex health system at the right time," says Eileen Bartholomew, a senior director at the X Prize Foundation. Bartholomew is working on designing the exact parameters for the prize, which will be launched in 2012. "And when consumers get into the health system, they come with data, to understand and guide their treatment."