As health care digitizes, consumer technologies will have greatest impact, says panel
Her company develops portable testing systems to quickly identify diseases such as HIV. Nanobiosym customizes mobile apps to fit with current systems so the technology can “get outside the lab and have an impact.”
To assuage data security concerns, people need to see how sharing health information can have positive effects on their health, Stokes said. Allowing a doctor access to health information, for example, can lead to the early detection of possible health problems, he said.
“It is about using data to affect people’s lives in meaningful ways,” he said.
New infrastructure is needed to better use this data and further digitize health care, Goel said.
A next-generation infrastructure will enable smartphones with apps customized for specific health care functions to collect data and send it to a cloud computing application where data analysis can be performed. When patients are armed with smartphones and instant access to their health information, health care will become more democratized, she said.
’”This is akin to what Google did with information access,” she said, or how the cellphone gave more people access to telecommunications.
And with the “Internet of things” placing sensors in cars, homes and on bodies, among other places, health care data will include more personal information and become more consumer driven.
“The home will become a major part of our health care,” said Stokes.
The greatest health IT innovations will come from consumer products, like the recently announced Apple Watch, and products containing sensors, instead of more industrial products like implants, Bain Capital’s Gordon said.
Apple Watch will get scores of people to wear a health monitor, Stokes said, and “if you get a million people to wear it, that can be meaningful.”
The challenge is getting consumers to pay for health care, Gordon said. People have no issues paying for cable, but scoff at the cost of a health insurance co-pay and may dismiss purchasing expensive consumer devices if they can’t see their benefit.
“For a consumer innovation to break through, it has to be interesting enough for people to buy it,” Gordon said.
Government rules controlling the sharing of health care information may require a revamp as care becomes more centered around the people being able to share their data with others, said Gordon.
“We have to have legislative framework in place to get that [data] to consumers,” he said, adding that he sometimes thinks this is unachievable.
When people are allowed easy access to their data, future health care will place the individual in control of their health, Goel said. The information generated from a doctor’s visit, and the data analysis around it, will be accessible from a patient’s mobile device, she said. This will allow more personalized care options instead of the current model that dispenses care by visiting doctors in a way akin to an assembly line.