Health care is being reinvented. The shift is being driven by two main factors: the search for economic sustainability and digital disruption. Digital health (mobile apps, wearables, social media, and analytics) is expanding access, improving quality, managing costs and enabling approaches that are dramatically more cost-effective.
Developing these sustainable approaches will require varied skills, from app development to analytics and customer engagement. So, entrants from once far-removed sectors — technology, telecommunications, and retail, for example — are moving in.
These trends promise to take us to Health 2.0, a fundamentally different model for health care. Patients will become empowered consumers, with more information and control over their health decisions. Providers will focus on prevention and disease management. Instead of being delivered only in hospitals and clinics, health care will be available wherever patients happen to be.
The next generation of smart technology promises even greater change. Today's
decisionsupport tools could soon be replaced by sophisticated algorithms that diagnose and prescribe — with greater accuracy and less random variability than their human counterparts. Monitoring health in real-time, real-world conditions promises huge efficiencies through disease prevention and care management. Imagine combining the information in a patient's health record with round-the-clock sensor data on diet, activity levels and medication adherence to comprehensively understand the drivers of her blood pressure. When it happens, this will be a game changer.
Also, sharing economy platforms are terrific at deploying underutilized assets. This approach could have tremendous applicability in health care systems, which are rife with excess capacity. Start-ups have already begun tackling the problem. It is relatively easy to imagine the future of health; getting there will be more challenging. While the number of mobile health technologies has grown rapidly, mainstream adoption has remained elusive.
Digital health has also compounded the challenge of fragmentation in health care. Achieving the vision of Health 2.0 requires integrating data across diverse streams to see the big picture. The need to address this challenge will continue to drive partnerships and acquisitions to access data, as well as work on analytical techniques, industry standards and platforms to integrate it.
As the chronic disease burden escalates, systems will be forced to tackle the biggest challenge of all: behavioral change. Expect to see increasing action in this space, as payers, providers and employers combine insights from behavioral economics with mobile health technologies to “nudge” behaviors.
Nobiletec is a multi-national consultancy firm specializes in B2B, B2C and P2P FinTech solutions.