Millions of people increasingly use digital technologies to track their health, not their diseases. Connected devices monitor their workouts, diets, heart rates and sleep. The subsequent exponential rise of health data is transforming healthcare, much as data and analytics are disrupting most industries.
Healthcare is also shifting — from treating episodes of disease to predicting who is most likely to become (or stay) unwell,
as well as offering highly-targeted treatments including context-specific suggestions for behavioral changes. The promise of connected health in this setting is clear: People can use these emerging technologies to collect and analyze context-specific data to better manage their health. One focus area is improving how patients stick to their routines and regimens. This “adherence” problem, which includes things like making sure patients take their medications at the prescribed times, is a nearly $300 billion problem in the U.S. alone.
It is a key reason physicians are increasingly recommending connected health devices to patients, according to a global survey of nearly 1,700 doctors in 18 countries conducted by Ipsos in 2017. Those recommendations are critical because healthcare providers hold the position as trusted knowledge brokers and caregivers. To maintain that role, caregivers must embrace and understand the technology their patients and the industry as a whole are moving toward: digital apps, artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual (or augmented) reality environments that can enhance or replace traditional healthcare practices.
How these connected technologies are adopted is a big, open question for patients, doctors and other aspects of the healthcare industry. Answering it presents a opportunity for industries like biopharmaceuticals, which haven’t traditionally been digital leaders, to adopt more of a startup mentality. Because if they get the design and experience wrong with the patients, the adherence problem will get worse, not better. The entire health ecosystem is changing and growing as more players are entering from all sides. But at the end of the day, patients need a trusted caregiver, a connected health device, an AI-based analytical tool or likely all of the above to guide them through this shifting landscape.
Source: Ipsos 2017 Digital Doctor report. Survey conducted March 21 – May 18, 2017 among 1,690 doctors in 18 countries.
July 24, 2018