Technology in healthcare is exploding, especially remote monitoring technology, mobile devices, social engagement applications. It is estimated that the market for mHealth app services will reach $26 billion by 2017 according to Research2Guidance, a mobile research company. The use of mobile healthcare technology is being embraced by consumers and healthcare professionals alike.
Mobile Devices / Wearables
Jawbone and Fitbit are examples of cool companies that have created a variety of wearable consumer fitness trackers. These devices offer access to activity stats, sleep quality, calories, heart rate, and exercise time. They allow you to set goals and measure progress.
A great example of turning fitness into a game is the Striiv’s smart pedometer. The goal is to motivate 10,000 steps a day via playing a game, donating to charity, and competing with friends.
Gaming and social apps offer a community with which to dialogue. For fitness, health and diet buffs, the social competition is a motivating factor. Gaming and social apps support the competitive fun, social causes, and general health and progress.
Another example is Kurbo, a startup offering mobile technology and personalized coaching to help millions of overweight children get their weight under control. Kurbo uses intelligent mobile apps and web-based tools via their online platform to achieve behavior modification to live healthier, adopt good habits, feel good about themselves.
Health Social Networks
For people with ongoing illnesses, the social network of choice is one of support. Engaging people with each other for discussion and encouragement, as well as sharing resources, information, and perspectives can be a great support for people managing similar medical conditions. An exciting company that does this is HumanAPI, who offers platforms that allow partners to build healthcare applications.
Telemedicine offers patients remote access to healthcare professionals. Self-monitoring devices allow patients to monitor their own vital signs and report information to medical providers. Improved monitoring many allow for more affordable solutions like “Hospital at home”, a program designed by Johns Hopkins that provides acute care services in the homes of patients who might otherwise be hospitalized. This project has demonstrated an increase in the quality of care that patients receive, improved satisfaction, and reduced costs by at least 30 percent.
Companies like iHealth are developing wireless sensor devices that connect health information like blood pressure and blood glucose testing to healthcare providers remotely for on-going healthcare monitoring.
And the company, Extension Healthcare serves the hospital market by offering advanced alarm management middleware with a unique secure text messaging solution to optimize clinical event response workflow for healthcare professionals.
Big Data / Analytics
As data and data storage proliferate, we need solutions to make sense of it all. Accessing and analyzing all the health care data via healthcare information technology (HIT) is the big data challenge of the day. From controlling costs to monitoring chronic health issues, from customizing treatment plans to analyzing outcomes, big data will play an increasingly important role in patient care.
“The big question for many health systems and physician organizations that are growing through merger and/or acquisition of other providers is how to move all of the owned providers (e.g., ambulatory sites, physician practices, hospitals, post-acute, etc.) to a common or at least compatible IT platform,” writes Steven Valentine, MPA in his Top 10 Healthcare Trends to Watch in 2014 article.