First, I will define digital health/healthtech/health 2.0 as products and services that rely on using the Internet and digital data (versus paper or physical contact/in-person consultations), to better the overall physical or mental health of an individual. This does not include medical devices or pharmaceutical.
The major trends for 2017 include using information technology and Internet, of which mobile is a significant component, to do the tasks that patients and physicians or other service providers would ordinarily do, but at a faster, cheaper, and larger scale i.e. to reach a global network without incurring added costs of time and money. Unlike in other industries, healthcare does not allow immediate and ground-breaking leaps in the use of information technology to do new and powerful things that were otherwise not already possible, for example, offering a treatment or diagnosing using the Internet.
A few years ago, as an early stage startup investor in Boston, I came across technologies that proposed to use video games to treat Attention Deficit Disorder, or rely on patterns in mobile phone usage to diagnose and manage depression, or leverage the iPhone camera to send images to ophthalmologists to diagnose eye infections in rural India, or attach monitors to cell phones as an electrocardiogram device.
These innovations tread on diagnosing and treating, and must be tempered by regulation and clinical trial validations before adopted use. This is beyond what digital health/healthtech/health 2.0 can reasonably promise to deliver, as the intricacies of the healthcare and legal landscape intervene.
The success of such innovations, measured by adoption and use in the clinical world, is yet to be seen.
To better the overall physical or mental health of an individual.
However, leveraging technology to improve performance of products and services that already exist, and that improve healthcare delivery as it exists today, is a fair game for digital health/healthtech/health 2.0. This can be boiled down to some key trends.
Trend #2 – Leveling information disparity
Access to medical information including evidence (i.e. published clinical trial data) and outcomes of patients at expert centers, unlocks the ability for any physician to make expert grade treatment decisions for their patients.
The Internet and mobile apps allow for such information to be easily disbursed to physicians, and machine learning on data allows for intelligence to be computed and disseminated to everyone, and not just the specialists at referral centers. This allows physicians in small and remote centers and in the developing world, to have access to the same high quality information that experts at academic centers have usually been equipped to access and use.
Such leveling of information disparity can be seen in every facet of the clinical landscape, where intelligent targeted search engines can make information consumable and ubiquitous around the world. Insurance companies can rely on high quality evidence and experience data to make good decisions about treatments.
Machine learning, clinical informatics, and predictive analytics of medical and patient data will dominate the way clinical decisions are made and executed henceforth.
The next post will conclude my discussion of these trends.
– Gitika Srivastava
Online Expert Opinion: Navya.Care