Paradigm Shift: Can Rethinking How Technology Is Used Change How Healthcare Is Delivered?
// By Althea Fung //
Technology is drastically changing how we live. This is particularly evident in healthcare, where technology like wearable devices such as Apple Watch give users updates on their health in real time. That same technology is opening up new avenues for healthcare organizations to connect with chronically ill patients. The Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD) recently released Futurescan 2019-2024: Healthcare Trends and Implications, which looks at how technology reframes the way care is delivered and a number of other key issues.
Big technology companies like Amazon, Apple, IBM, and Google’s parent company Alphabet are making a move into healthcare. With advanced technology in AI (artificial intelligence) and cloud computing, these companies can offer products that move consumers from passive to active participants in their health.
Many healthcare organizations consider these ventures into healthcare by big companies a potential threat. A Futurescan survey of hospital and health system leaders found nearly half (47 percent) say a major technology company has emerged as a competitor to their organizations’ healthcare services or is very likely to do so. While these companies are changing the way healthcare is delivered, the authors of the Futurescan article “Flipping the Stack: Can New Technology Drive Health Care’s Future?” say the infusion of technology is an opportunity for healthcare organizations to rethink the healthcare delivery model.
“[Healthcare organizations] started with care delivery and then started to add other things to care delivery because they started to realize the problems with managing people with chronic illness. So they began adding services because static care delivery programs were getting too complex to manage,” says Matthew Holt, co-author of “Flipping the Stack” and founder of The Health Care Blog. He is also cofounder of the Health 2.0 conference with co-author Indu Subaiya, MD. “Then, going back to the ’60s, they started adding enterprise systems. We’ve turbocharged that in the last decade by putting about $30 billion into electronic medical records. Essentially we added a services layer and technology layer on top of care delivery.”
He continues: “The enterprise itself is not enough to manage everything that is going on in the life of chronically ill patients. We’re arguing that the technology platform, which enables us to always be on and monitoring, is going to get distributed. There is enough technology to look at it as a platform that takes over a lot of the supportive functions and advisory functions.”