Bill Russell is the CIO of St. Joseph Health, an Irvine, Calif.-based integrated healthcare delivery system that encompasses 14 acute care hospitals, home health agencies, hospice care, outpatient services, skilled nursing facilities, community clinics and physician organizations. A 20-year veteran of the rapidly evolving information technology sector, he is a graduate of Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., and has completed executive education courses and healthcare IT leadership training at the Harvard School of Public Health in Cambridge, Mass.
Q. What's the one promise of mHealth that will drive the most adoption over the coming year?
A. The thing we are most excited about is extending the relationship between the provider and the consumer who at times is a patient. We can envision a dialogue to be opened up across digital channels that will enhance this trusted relationship. The provider will receive more detailed information from the consumer delivered from the various sensors that are employed and the consumer will receive information and guidance across many interactions rather than an annual visit. This will move us beyond the walls of the system.
Q. What mHealth technology will become ubiquitous in the next 5 years? Why?
A. Sensors will be everywhere - on your wrist, on your phone, in your medication, in food perhaps. This is already happening, but it will accelerate generating a mountain of new data to sift through.
Q. What's the most cutting-edge application you're seeing now? What other innovations might we see in the near future?
A. Most of what we are seeing now would not be considered cutting-edge. We are seeing existing technologies being applied in new ways. When you think about Uber, there is really nothing new there except the application of the various technologies that were already readily available in each phone. In the same way we are seeing creative application of existing technology. We have several home health pilots for our complex and chronic care patients which are showing fantastic results in preventing readmissions and allowing patients to live more mobile and healthier lives.
Q. What mHealth tool or trend will likely die out or fail?
A. We will look back at some of the fitness trackers and laugh in five years, but they are the pioneers today. My parents each got a fitness tracker for Christmas and they are extremely excited. These technologies are introducing them to a world where we monitor ourselves daily and interact socially about our health and wellness, which is exciting and shows real promise. Positive social pressure to live a healthy lifestyle from those closest to us will do more for healthcare in the U.S. than any new hospital robot.