The healthcare industry has experienced unprecedented transformation over the last few years. Regulatory changes, combined with changing demographics and the rise of connected devices, are creating a new ecosystem of data-centric, consumer-focused business models, including mobile health and wellness service apps, home diagnostics, telemedicine and continuous lifestyle monitoring.
For the consumers, technology is enabling cost-effective, convenient and personalized health and wellness solutions. Among U.S. broadband households, 67% use a portal or app for health purposes, 33% own at least one connected health and wellness device, and 8% use video consultation with a doctor, according to Parks Associates. Connected health and wellness apps and devices span numerous lifestyle applications, including sleep, exercise, diet, mental health and safety. They can also vary in functionality and can include a home sensor that analyzes your sleep and environment (Sense), an app that provides nutrition guidance (MyFitnessPal), a wearable that tracks brain activity to detect anxiety or depression (Muse) and a wearable strip that continuously monitors your vital signs (Vital Connect).
Diagnostics will become more accessible outside of traditional hospital settings as start-ups seek to "mobilize" healthcare. For example, Cellscope lets a parent examine a child's ear canal and send recordings and notes to a doctor. AliveCor is an FDA-approved electrocardiogram that enables a user to monitor her heartbeat using an iPhone and share information with her doctor. Such technologies are also enabling telemedicine, which refers to virtual delivery of health services. Doctor on Demand facilitates video chats with physicians, and Mahmee (more on it below) provides ongoing, personalized postpartum support and video sessions with healthcare providers.
Sensors embedded in wearables and homes and the use of digital health services open the doors to massive amounts of data. Emerging platforms, such as H2 Wellness, are connecting patients to providers and integrating data from electronic medical record (EMR) systems with data from digital health wearables and services.
The industry shift toward cost-effective, value-based care may be an impetus for more intelligent data analytics and the convergence of consumer-generated data with more conventional forms of HIPAA-protected health information. Insights from the intersecting data set can lead to more holistic solutions; provide real-time feedback; and enable personalization, risk identification and predictive capabilities. These can be used to improve the experience of the patient, the ongoing relationship between a patient and her providers, and the collaboration across entities in the new healthcare ecosystem.