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Digital natives' to drive technological revolution in medicine

Digital natives' to drive technological revolution in medicine | Healthcare and Technology news |

The biggest changes to come in the medical industry down the road will be at the hands of those who have grown up surrounded by technology all their lives, according to digital health philosopher John Nosta.

These digital natives, Nosta tells Real Business, are going to drive the technological revolution in medicine. They have grown up with a smartphone in their hands, he says, and that will cause the role of mobile health technology to undergo a change.

"The role of the smartphone or handheld device to aid in a differential diagnosis or a clinical scenario may become much more mainstream as we see this generation of medical students graduate," Nosta says.

More than 50 percent of U.S. hospitals are using smartphones and or tablets and 69 percent of clinicians are using both a desktop/laptop and a smartphone/tablet to access data, according to the 2014 HIMSS Analytics Mobile Devices Study, published last month. One-third of respondents polled believe smartphones and tablets will drive overall efficiency in care by eliminating redundancies and view mHealth devices as having a positive impact on care quality and coordination.

"Clinicians currently using this technology also offered numerous suggestions about how the next generation of smartphones and tablet computers could better help them support patient care," Jennifer Horowitz, senior director of research at HIMSS Analytics, told FierceMobileHealthcare. "A few examples include improved access to clinical information housed in EHR and other sources, ability of smartphones and tablet computers to enhance clinician workflow and improved tools for interacting with patients."

Nosta says that digital native patients likely will begin to know more about their healthcare than possibly even the physician does. He uses the parents of children with cancer as an example, who he says "take such an active role in the child's care that they monitor the data in an extraordinary way."

There also will be new roles coming to the industry, such as that of information specialist, and the work laboratory and medical technician perform may grow to include genetic analysis and diagnostic imaging, Nosta says. More stakeholders, including paramedics and nurses, will be empowered by emerging technologies, he adds.

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How Doctors Improve Health Via 'Disruptive Technology'

How Doctors Improve Health Via 'Disruptive Technology' | Healthcare and Technology news |

From electronic health records and telemedicine to “internet-driven physical therapy,” Dr. Richard Rothman, founder of the Rothman Institute, says providers of medical care are embracing the promise of the digital age.

In an interview at the 2014 Forbes Healthcare Summit, Rothman talks about how a health care system with more than a half million patient visits annually is moving into the digital health space with “disruptive technology,” reducing costs by moving therapy online, conducting telehealth consults with patients and using eletronic health records to improve patient experience.

“We are very pro disruptive technology,” Rothman said in his interview, which can be seen in its entirety below.  “We are into disruptive technology that will lower costs and improve convenience for our patients.”

As insurance companies like Aetna (AET), Cigna (CI), UnitedHealth Group (UNH), Humana (HUM), and others push away from fee-for-service medicine to accountable care and bundled payments, Rothman said digital health can achieve what the insurers want in lower costs and better quality. As one example, the Rothman system is practicing “internet-driven” physical therapy that will reduce costs by 80 percent.

As the Affordable Care Act and trends in insurance payment move away from paying for quantity to reimbursement based on quality, Rothman believes health plans and government health plans will, in turn, embrace provider ideas in digital health.

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What could a digital future look like in health care?

What could a digital future look like in health care? | Healthcare and Technology news |

It took me until 2010 to buy an iPhone and in just a few years, I’ve become so dependent on it, without fail, I will always make a U-turn to make sure it’s with me — my smartphone is essentially a new limb for me.

I know I’m not alone.

Most did not predict the rocket speed adoption and transformative power of modern smartphones when the iPhone launched in 2007. But, in just seven years, smartphone penetration in the U.S. is approximately 70 percent of the population, making it the fastest adopted technology in history.

While other industries have embraced mobile technologies, the health care industry is still mostly in the experimentation phase, with only a few players actually committing to mobile health solutions. That’s a missed opportunity given the vast potential for digital health to improve operational efficiencies and patient outcomes.

If we in health care don’t lead the charge with incorporating digital delivery into the current physical delivery care model within the next half-decade, outside pressures and disruptive companies will surely force this change on us.

We’ve seen recent evidence in other industries that technology can disrupt incumbents and position new players in the market at astonishing speed: retail being shaken up by Amazon, financial services with e-trade, ride sharing companies such as Uber with traditional taxi service and potentially private car ownership, and a host of others built on the principal of white glove, instant gratification service.

What could a digital future look like in health care?  It’s my job at Boston Children’s Hospital’s Innovation Acceleration Program to figure that out. But, also as a patient in the health care system here’s what I hope my future as “patient 3.0” will resemble: it will be a simplified, connected and digital experience seamlessly integrating my everyday life into health and care delivery.

1. My smartphone becomes my health care brain, connecting all the sensors in wearables on me or in my environment to analyze my health in real-time, providing me with insights when I want them. My doctor will be able to analyze my relevant data in the context of my personalized genomic data and years of electronic health record information will be visually displayed in less than a minute, powered by big data analytics. Our precious few minutes during the e-visit will be laser focused to target the right medication and treatment plan for me.

2. In my home, we will have a “robot” that is connected to all the smart devices like my fridge, coffee maker, front door, you name it. Everything in my home will be synced up to this digital ecosystem with Apple’s iBeacons or comparable technology. If I forget to take my medications my robot will tell me . Maybe even my walls or coffee maker will signal me if one of my biometric data points are out of range — and alert others if I’m unresponsive. I’m sure my prescription lenses will incorporate augmented reality to project relevant information on command about health care shopping choices.

3. I want my entire care team to know the relevant information and have it seamlessly integrated into my patient experience. I want technology to make this effortless. The last thing I want in my future patient 3.0 experience is technology creating a life of noise about every detail. The data should be contextual, relevant, and actionable. I want technology to be smart enough to adapt to my routine and notify me only when needed. See for example, Viv.

With the buzz of activity in the entrepreneurial community, the growing expectations of patients, untenable costs, and the interest of non-health care technology players like Facebook, Apple or Google, this future of health care could become a reality. And yet, my reality as a patient today? I’m lucky to have email exchanges with my doctor. What will it take to move beyond already outdated technologies?

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