mHealth masters: CIO says 'sensors will be everywhere'

From the mHealthNews archive
By Eric Wicklund

Q. What mHealth tool or trend has surprised you the most, either with its success or its failure?

A. I don’t know if it’s success or failure as much as it is absence. Medication adherence is a significant problem and responsible for a material amount of readmissions and poor outcomes in healthcare. I would love to see most if not all prescribed medications come with some means to communicate digitally back to the care provider if the patient is not taking their meds. Clearly there is a fair amount of privacy questions to be answered and regulatory hurdles to clear, but given the scope of the problem this would be a meaningful challenge to tackle.

Q. What's your biggest fear about mHealth? Why?

A. From a CIO’s perspective the greatest fear has to be protecting the privacy of our patients. We have to create secure channels that move the data from the consumer devices to the caregiver to ensure that it is not tampered with. Also, we have to ensure that the devices themselves are secure so that they can’t be tampered with and ensure the validity of the data. Many of the technologies exist to make this happen but I think they will be applied unevenly across vendors. As healthcare providers we are going to have to build out trusted ecosystems across the communities that we serve.

Q. Who's going to push mHealth "to the next level" – consumers, providers or some other party?

A. Yes. Consumers are going to generate data that they want their providers to have, review and provide feedback. Providers are going to want tools that allow them to function in this digital age and perhaps get back some of the time they lost in the first couple of years of meaningful use and improve their existing relationships with clients. The billions of dollars being invested in Silicon Valley is also going to push our traditionally slow-moving industry to change. Which is going to push the hardest, it's hard to say, but the combination leads one to believe that it is inevitable. 

Q. What are you working on now?

A. We are shoring up our digital channels where our patients and providers will interact as well as our big data tools. The data from these sensors will need to be delivered back to the providers in a way that doesn’t bog them down but provides them the information they need to deliver the best experience for the patient. Most physicians don’t want to view a data point for each time a person steps on a scale, they just want to see meaningful changes. Big Data platforms will handle the sensor data in a way that traditional data sources would crumble or expand to cost massive amounts of money. Our digital channels will be where we facilitate the interaction between the network of care and the community we serve surrounded by a rich set of consumer generated and clinical data to build healthier communities. This plus tons of pilots. Hard to say where this is going to take off first, but we are developing the required skills tor bring these innovations to the communities we serve.

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