I recently attended a fantastic webinar on healthcare innovation featuring speaker Dr. Sam Basta, Sentara Healthcare, who gave an overview/analysis of the new technologies and innovative healthcare systems that are changing the way healthcare is being delivered. As Dr. Basta points out, technology is moving at an unprecedented pace, drastically changing the healthcare landscape. Some notable insights from his presentation include:
- Sensors and Consumer Technology (like Nike+Fuelband and Apple HealthKit): Consumers are now able to track health data such as blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol, measurements traditionally taken by physicians as basis for diagnosis or treatment. Now, consumers are able to to generate data daily and very easily, empowering them to make their own health decisions.
- AliveCor Heart Monitor: In the past, care for heart conditions meant inconvenient and frequent trips to the doctor’s office in an effort to capture abnormal activity, sometimes with fruitless results. However, with AliveCor over the counter heart monitoring device, anyone can easily collect health data on a daily basis and with the touch of a button, send abnormal activity directly to their physician for analysis – saving a visit to the office, not to mention precious moments that could mean saving a life.
- Google Glass: Surgeons have the ability to see a patient’s x-rays or CT scans as they’re operating – no need for interaction with computers which can lead to infections.
- Mayo Clinic: In the near future, this forward thinking healthcare organization will roll-out with a mobile app and monthly service subscription. For $49 a month, consumers can have access to Mayo Clinic nurses – ask them about symptoms they’re experiencing or ask any health questions/concerns.
- Walgreens Clinic and Theranos Blood Testing: As it stands, getting blood work done requires a trip to the doctor’s office, followed by another trip to the lab where a technician then pokes around for a viable vein to draw blood, the results of which may take another 3-7 days to reach the doctor’s office, requiring yet another trip to review results. Whew! Enter Theranos blood test technology, now available at select Walgreens. With the prick of a finger, blood tests can be conducted and results received within the same day for a fraction of the cost of typical blood tests.
Advanced healthcare technology provides great opportunity for consumers/patients and providers alike. The ability for consumers to capture their own health data and consult online health resources, empowers them to manage their own health and gives them the knowledge they need to make better informed decisions (regarding health services or treatments).
This also means that providers will need to differentiate themselves, so that they may appeal to the educated consumer who is better able to manage their own health and stay well. The opportunity for providers here is to stay abreast of and utilize new instruments that may help patients save time/money (i.e. such as the AliveCor Heart Monitor; by saving the patient time from having to make an appointment/visit, the physician also saves time and can utilize it to see other patients or “see” multiple patients virtually) and to find new ways of providing service (i.e. the way Mayo Clinic will now be able to reach consumers in far away places). As providers head down the path to Population Health Management, technological advancements along with some creative thinking will serve to benefit everyone.