Before we talk about digital health tech trends, let’s look at what’s happening around us
From a consumer perspective:
- About 65+% of the population uses mobile phones today, >50% of which are smart phone users and this # is only going to grow exponentially
- Consumers “expect” information at their fingertips when they want it, where they want it and how they want it
- Health awareness and focus – consumers today are empowered with abundance of information and there’s a much higher level of health awareness and focus on “well being”
- People generally want to be healthy and have a fulfilling life rather than spend time in hospitals. A relevant paradigm shift is the fact that the hospitality industry has grown significantly with focus on wellness and luxury
- There’s a huge shift in lifestyle – it’s about time optimization and how every minute of the day is spent. Underlying this shift is the way people are keeping themselves fit and healthy to enable the lifestyle that they wish for and this is happening by proactively monitoring their vitals, behaviours, exercise routines, eating habits, etc.
From a provider perspective
The ecosystem is getting more complex:
- More players in the system with non-convergent goals
- Pace of technology change is extremely rapid
- Consumers are empowered with information ….. personalized care is the new norm and an expectation
- Mindset and lifestyle changes are forcing a shift and disrupting business and delivery models
- Availability, accessibility and affordability of care continue to be challenges
- Policy and regulations continue to keep changing
- While investments in new technologies are non-negotiable to enable the right care, balancing the equation with affordability to the consumer becomes tough
- Shift from Evidence based system to Value based system
- Reactive care to Preventive care to now, Predictive care
Let’s future-forward and imagine
Being woken up in the morning by your personal digital assistant and she/he (personalized voice) reads out the news (of your choice), your sleeping pattern and other behaviours (that you are willingly tracking) and points out any abnormalities / deviations and, suggests changes to your current routine (and, with your acceptance, makes necessary changes including what your meal should be, what exercise you need to do, when and where!)
Now, also, imagine…… you go through your normal morning routine and do a quick body scan with a handheld device and by the time you are ready to go, your personal digital assistant alerts you on any observed abnormalities / deviations in your body texture, vitals, etc. (because everything you use would be digital – your toothbrush, bathroom accessories, etc.) and suggests that you make an appointment for a check-up
On your acceptance, and, depending on your schedule, your personal digital assistant makes an appointment for the check-up and by the time you get there, your insurance paper work is all ready to go and the clinician is ready for your appointment. You walk in and walk out with zero waiting!!
Snap! What does all this mean? Does this “imagination” seem far fetched? Probably not……
Putting it all together and taking a consumer-centric approach, next generation healthcare will be (a) Predictive; (b) Value / Outcomes based, personalized & private; (c) Proactively self-managed
So then, what digital technologies would enable the above?
What will become mainstream in 2020?
- Predictive Care: health regime based on predicted potential occurrences of medical conditions. Enabling technologies include predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, machine & deep learning. Since the success of these technologies is hugely dependent on Big Data, foundational technologies such as sensors, connected devices and interconnected, integrated, hospital-centric systems with digitized transactions and patient / member engagement, data lakes and analytics platforms will become mainstream.
- Patient – centric: holistic, digitally connected healthcare ecosystem across providers, payers and consumers enabling value-based, personalised care, where patients are empowered with the right information at the right time in a secure manner adhering to data privacy. Technologies that will become mainstream include secure high speed networks, patient portals, EMRs / EHRs, Blockchain, mobile platforms and AR/VR technologies
- Personal Health Management: Technologies by which managing health will become a routine and will enable patients to spend less time in hospitals. These will include monitors (portable / miniature), monitoring systems with advanced predictive analytics, connected systems across the health ecosystem, tele medicine and homecare
Summing it up
Summing it up, future of healthcare will have the consumer in the driver’s seat, will be proactively and personally managed through dynamic health & lifestyle choices based on predictive analytics. Time spent in hospitals will be significantly reduced and healthcare will be much more accessible and available. Technologies that will become mainstream will drive this paradigm shift and disruptive technologies will be the accelerators.
Looking forward to a digitally enabled secure, personalized and efficient health management as a way of life!