Monday, July 09, 2012

mHealth and Mobility - Crowd Sourced Healthcare

I wonder sometimes if we Americans wouldn't be better off simply bypassing partisan politics and the healthcare industrial complex, and developing our own crowd-sourced healthcare program that fully utilizes mobile, M2M, cloud and big data technologies and brings them together to offer optimized healthcare services.  Perhaps we should join together into technology centric cooperatives and hire our own healthcare providers?  Perhaps technology is the answer to this problem.

Perhaps we could develop a program where each of us could be matched up with a CHP (cloud-based healthcare provider) that would provide us with smartphone apps and any additional wearable (M2M) devices that would enable him/her to monitor our health and provide guidance in the comfort and efficiency of our own homes.  When health issues arise, our CHP would manage our treatment by sending us to local labs and service providers that would perform tests and upload the results to our EHR (electronic health record) for our CHP to analyze and provide recommendation.  The analysis and treatment decisions would involve the use of big data.  This would ensure our treatments are data driven, not pharmaceutical rep driven.  Each of our health issues would then have its own cloud-based workflow and decision tree backed-up with the data that supports each plan or decision.  We could reference this health issue workflow from anywhere.

Consultations with our healthcare provider could most often be done via video conferencing on the smartphone app.  Why waste hours driving and sitting in waiting rooms for consultations.  Yes, you may lose some face-to-face value, but I think convenience and efficiency makes up for a lot of routine face-to-face encounters.

Kevin: "Doctor, I think I have a sore throat and fever."
Doctor: "You do."
Kevin: "It will probably go away on its own if I wait a couple of days, right?"
Doctor: "Right."
Kevin: "Thanks.  Can we do this over video conferencing next time?"

I personally see a different physician's assistant or doctor nearly every time I go into the doctor's office.  My visits are most often consultations and could be done equally well in a video conferencing session. 

Each of us, and any healthcare services provider could access our EHR (electronic health record) with permissions and update it.  We could access our own EHR from our smartphone app.  I would love to have a personal healthcare dashboard.  I could then graph how I have gained weight over the past 20 years.  I would need that graph on a line chart, as a pie chart would simply be mean.  We could also set healthy lifestyle goals that our CHP could monitor and help coach us on.

Early in my IT career I worked for a large electronics manufacturer in Boise, Idaho that had their own in-house medical clinic for their employees.  It was wonderful.  I have since always wondered if that model could be replicated in neighborhoods, or co-ops of some kind. 

Perhaps someday soon, technology rather than politics will get it done.

Kevin Benedict, Mobile Industry Analyst, Mobile Strategy Consultant and SAP Mentor Alumnus
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility analyst, consultant and blogger. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.