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Wearables, devices used to sense data and process it into information, are generating quite the buzz in healthcare these days. But down the line, does that buzz come with a sting?
In Wearable Tech News, Tony Rizzo reports wearable technology spending predictions of $50 billion by 2018. He also reports on a ground-breaking, glucose-sensing contact lens for diabetics that will be a “true solution for a very real medical problem that affects hundreds of millions of people.”
By 2016, wearable wireless medical device sales will reach more than 100 million devices, according to a Cisco blog on the future of mobility in healthcare. The importance of these devices is that healthcare professionals can access critical data via mobile apps before, during and after a patient’s hospitalization, thus boosting the speed and accuracy of patient care, the blog says.
The Age of Wearables has a few caveats, though – note that a doctor “can,” “could,” “may” or “potentially” be able to monitor a patient from a wearable, as the products are still under development. One product cites unpublished research as support, and another uses a modality, thermography, that the National Cancer Institute states has no additional benefit for breast cancer screening.
The new, intense focus on wearables is the engagement of the general public, both the ill and the well, and how they collect and transmit patient information to physicians and EHRs. This presents two challenges:
1. Are physicians prepared for this tidal wave of data and information?
2. What is the true cost of the data surge versus its benefits?
Like all healthcare information technology, wearables have huge potential – married to massive challenges.
L’utilisation des nouvelles technologies en médecine a commencé dans les années 1950 pour gérer les tâches administratives et statistiques… puis s’est poursuivie vingt ans plus tard avec la naissance des cartes électroniques de santé. Aujourd’hui, McKinsey parle d’une troisième étape que le domaine de la santé s’apprête à franchir : orienter les nouvelles technologies au service du patient. Mais certains problèmes comme la régulation, la confidentialité des données et la grande quantité de parties prenantes, semblent impacter particulièrement la santé et menacent de retarder cette troisième vague d’évolution technologique. Par où commencer pour intégrer complètement le digital dans les stratégies des acteurs du monde de la santé ? Les analystes de McKinsey relèvent que dans les autres secteurs, cette troisième vague s’est fondée sur l’étude des attentes des utilisateurs et c’est ce qui doit être fait dans la santé. Dans la manière de restituer les résultats de leur enquête, les analystes ont voulu briser certains préjugés, le premier étant la réticence des patients à avoir recours au digital dans un domaine aussi sensible que la santé.
Insights from our international survey can help healthcare organizations plan their next moves in the journey toward full digitization. A McKinsey & Company article.
The adoption of IT in healthcare systems has, in general, followed the same pattern as other industries. In the 1950s, when institutions began using new technology to automate highly standardized and repetitive tasks such as accounting and payroll, healthcare payors and other industry stakeholders also began using IT to process vast amounts of statistical data. Twenty years later, the second wave of IT adoption arrived. It did two things: it helped integrate different parts of core processes (manufacturing and HR, for example) within individual organizations, and it supported B2B processes such as supply-chain management for different institutions within and outside individual industries. As for its effects on the healthcare sector, this second wave of IT adoption helped bring about, for example, the electronic health card in Germany. It was also a catalyst for the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act in the United States—an effort to promote the adoption of health-information technology—and the National Programme for IT in the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. Regardless of their immediate impact, these programs helped create an important and powerful infrastructure that certainly will be useful in the future.
Many institutions in the private and public sector have already moved to the third wave of IT adoption—full digitization of their entire enterprise, including digital products, channels, and processes, as well as advanced analytics that enable entirely new operating models. No longer limited to helping organizations do a certain task better or more efficiently, digital technology has the potential to affect every aspect of business and private life, enabling smarter choices, allowing people to spend more time on tasks they deem valuable, and often fundamentally transforming the way value is created. What will this third wave of IT adoption look like for healthcare?