Technological Determinants of Health in the Future

SXSW Conference Health Track Session Summary

This article is part of an extended series summarizing discussions at recent healthcare conferences about improving health equity through technology. This session summary contains details on the SXSW Conference Health Track. You can read our conference overview and find links to all articles here.

Learn more about StartingUpGood’s Health + Equity + Tech Project.

Technological Determinants of Health in the Future


The future of healthcare looks entirely different than the experience we’ve come to know today. The life science, pharma, and big tech industries are rapidly converging into a patient-empowered, human-centered, and tech-augmented experience that will transform the delivery of healthcare research, diagnostics, treatments, and healing for individuals and communities. This presentation will help the audience dream of a future with equitable and optimized healthcare outcomes supported by real-world technologies in development today; technologies supporting patient engagement, physician recruitment, gamification, predictive decision-making with artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) with surgical and patient-facing applications, and precision medicine through pharmacogenomics.


Shweta Maniar, Google Cloud

Key Points

There is a bright future-forward vision for healthcare where all technology can be measured by how it:

  • Promotes well care not sick care
  • Provides equitable access
  • Empowers patients

This creates a framework of “Technological Determinants of Health” that will enable a bright healthcare future for all:

  • Telemedicine
  • The Internet of (Medical) Things (IoMT)
  • Artificial Intelligence and Big Data
  • Genomic interventions

Maniar predicts that:

  • Telehealth will become just health and will be part of a hybrid approach of convenience that supports better communication and relationships.
  • IO(M)T will enable care to be more seamless, but the technology will need to be affordable for the mainstream population.
  • AI and Big Data will enable clinical trials as computer simulations with your Digital Twin (a virtual representation of a real-time person, think crash test dummy) so there will be no risk to or animal testing to develop new treatments.
  • Advancing genomic interventions can allow for more preventative medicine and interventions.

Maniar describes a consumer driven system in which people interact with physicians in the ways they choose. To get there, she argues for strategic investments and incentives to develop access and augment community resources.

You can read a summary of all our 2022 healthcare conference coverage here, or check out specific coverage of each conference:

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