In the recent past, I have expressed my belief that there is hope for the American health-care system. My optimism rests not in the government's ability to control costs, but rather in the computer and semiconductor industry's willingness to turn its attention to the field. Specifically, I have written of how Intel's (Nasdaq: INTC ) focus on detecting diseases at an earlier stage could help lower health-care cost, as well as how IBM (NYSE: IBM ) is utilizing radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to help hospitals control their costs by keeping better track of medications and equipment.
I would now like to add Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) to the list of computer companies jumping on the health-care bandwagon. In yesterday's Technology Review there is an informative article describing HP's new painless drug injection technology.
According to the article, HP recently licensed to Crospon a new drug patch that can painlessly deliver medication into the human body via tiny micro-needles. As the father of two young children who aren't particularly enamored of getting shots, I can tell you such a technology would find an appreciative audience among children (and their parents) by eliminating the anguish that so often accompanies a trip to the doctor's office to get a vaccination.
Beyond that, however, I think this is the kind of advance that HP investors should keep a very close eye on because it could help further diversify HP's business as well as deliver a healthy stream of new revenue.
For instance, Crospon has licensed the technology to deliver insulin. Given the rapidly growing number of diabetics in America, the technology could find a most receptive audience. The technology might also lend itself to being able to deliver multiple drugs over an extended period of time. Just considering my own mother's complex drug-taking regimen (she takes up to five different pills at all hours of the day), this technology could be a godsend to both America's aging population and their caregivers, who would no longer be burdened with remembering which drugs need to be taken and when.
Lastly, the article suggests that in the not-too-distant future tiny sensors -- which HP is also developing and I discussed in this article -- could be embedded in the patches and help dispense drugs precisely when they are needed. The benefit is that many of today's expensive pharmaceutical products might be delivered in a manner that increases compliance, while simultaneously reducing the amount of medication that needs to be taken.
All told, HP's new delivery technology seems like a winner that could give HP's stock a pain-free boost as its many benefits become better known in health-care circles.
Interested in reading more about HP? Check out this article: