The rising costs of healthcare have put pressure on technology companies to deliver solutions that can help consumers and healthcare providers alike manage those costs – much of which comes down to better management of healthcare at the patient level. If patients have the tools to manage their own care under the guidance of a physician, cost savings can be realized throughout the care continuum.
The Health IT space has seen a massive influx of new technology in the form of wearables, apps and other devices, and though they seem brand new, the foundation for them – telehealth and telemedicine – are older, proven technologies.
We are not far from a future where any device we purchase for purposes of managing our health – from weight scales to blood pressure cuffs to glucometers – will automatically upload our data to a cloud location we designate.
With seamless integration of devices and data collection, patient control of their own data will occur as effortlessly as simply stepping on the scale each morning. The difference will be that instead of trying to remember what they weighed three days before, that data will be tracked and trended for them on an app on their phone, tablet or computer.
But devices and applications are only as good as the system they plug in to: if I have a device that tells me I walked 6 miles that day, that’s nice. But if I have a device that not only tells me I walked 6 miles, but also how that compares to the previous day, week or year, and further – how that is allowing me to address the goals my physician has for me around exercise related to my pre-diabetes diagnosis, that kind of device has staying power.
At the end of the day, the proven technologies tell us that if we give patients the tools they need to engage fully in their own healthcare while simultaneously giving healthcare providers the tools they need to more effectively interact with larger patient populations, we will be able to enact real change in the long-term health of a much broader patient population.
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