Digital Health Game-Changers

January 9, 2014

By Aidan Petrie, Chief Innovation Officer

There are a slew of digital health technologies being developed, but not all are having a profound impact on the healthcare system.

How are the most innovative companies developing industry-changing strategies to engage patients and providers? What master tactics are the most prominent advisors finding most effective in business and helping the world’s healthcare crisis?

It’s simple. A successful investment in healthcare today is a product that demonstrates a clear clinical and economic benefit.

For all the R&D dollars poured into the US medical industry, the country achieves a woefully low ranking on health outcomes while costing twice any other comparable system.

At Ximedica we have spent time in a multitude of hospitals all over the country and the world and can point to many examples where systems and devices are being deployed and adopted for the benefit of patient, hospital and OEM alike. Drawing from this experience we know the following:

A big cost driver that new technologies can impact is time-the speed a particular condition can be diagnosed; the time it takes to transfer information between departments and to physicians. Evaluating real-life situations helps determine impactful solutions like reducing the number of steps staff take to input and locate data, how the set up and breakdown of an OR between cases be improved or patient room turnover be simplified so that more beds are available in the ER? How can procedure complexity and adjacent recovery time be adapted to aid time to disposition? How might a nurse’s time be freed up from burdensome admin so that she can focus on more attentive patient care?

The currency of time directly translates to efficiencies that are easy to quantify demonstrating that investments in new technologies will have significant cost returns.

Digital health technology also sees justifiable returns in measuring patient compliance. The number of physician orders that are ignored by patients, the percentage of refill prescriptions that go unfulfilled and annual missed physicals compound an already poor and/or disconnected continuum of patient care. Through patient monitoring devices and other modes enabling electronic communication a physician can monitor patient compliance, making it easier to oversee treatment and hone a prescribed health regimen. In addition prompting & tracking compliance and making the information available to patients, caregivers and physicians alike has benefits for all.

Finally, information – its design, collection and dissemination – represents a wide opportunity for technology innovation… While many systems are still paper based or making bumpy transitions to electronic systems, the healthcare industry is in critical need of ways to improve every aspect of data recording, management and distribution. Problems relating to poor information architectures and systems in healthcare are almost endless with the benefits going well beyond streamlining siloed departments for optimal patient care. Once data is more easily accessed, it can be sorted and analyzed to make smarter decisions, sharper systems and more effective therapies that truly link the stakeholders in personal medicine together for mutual benefit.

In short, medical innovators will only benefit from the opportunity ahead if they understand the healthcare system at a deep enough level understand both the clinical efficacy of their product as well as the economic value story.

*This article is a follow-up to Aidan’s presentation at this year’s Digital Health Summit.