It’s no secret that our society is connected more than ever before. We’ve come a long way from Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephone in 1876. Cell phones were originally bulky, portable communication devices created in 1973 so people could talk while driving. The first smartphone prototype was developed in 1993, and eventually morphed into the smartphones we use today – sleek, quick, and reliable portable personal computers.
According to Pew, 77% of Americans owned a smartphone in 2016. The sweeping number of smartphone owners speaks for itself—convenience is key in the digital age. At the touch of a fingertip, we book travel, get directions, and keep in touch with loved ones.
Healthcare consumerism has accelerated with the recent boom in digital innovations. Cloud computing allows health data to be sent to devices on-demand. Bluetooth-enabled devices such as glucometers, spirometers, and blood pressure cuffs have gained popularity among smartphone users. These advancements in self-monitoring technology have paved the way for “anywhere, anytime” care, especially among patients with chronic conditions. Third-party app vendors have given users the tools necessary to track their own health, but to what avail?
Consumers using Bluetooth-enabled devices and apps to manage health conditions most likely have a chronic condition, possibly have more than one, and are potentially at risk for developing another. One in four Americans has multiple chronic conditions. Not only is this costly to the patient, but approximately 71% of total healthcare spending is associated with care for those with more than one chronic condition. The new wave of third-party healthcare apps is following suit with enhanced care coordination offerings for both the patient and provider.
The future is patient-facing apps and provider platforms that combine siloed health and device data into one view, emphasizing prevention over treatment. Health systems that invest in remote patient monitoring platforms keep patients healthier and drive down costs. Physicians that offer patients this type of app free of charge are investing in a support system extending well beyond episodic care. Technology is smoothing the path towards self-management, transparency, and overall patient satisfaction.
Digitally-enabled patients are now driving healthcare transformation. These patients want on-demand, digestible information on their health and impactfully participate in their care, outside the four walls of clinical settings. We’ve come a long way from the first wave of cell phones. The new wave of third-party apps is finally aligning an antiquated healthcare system with the goals of the Digital Age. At the touch of a fingertip, patients and providers are connected to co-produce better health outcomes together.
Veta Health will be exhibiting at the 11th Annual Health 2.0 Fall Conference in Santa Clara, CA at Booth 206. We will be presenting at 11:30am on Monday, October 2nd.