Last week, the Noteworth team attended and spoke at the Connected Health Conference, where folks across the healthcare ecosystem convened in Boston to discuss the state of digital health technologies that are reinventing health care delivery and patient engagement. Speakers and panelists highlighted consumer-centered, technology-enabled, and collaborative approaches that support the adoption and implementation of personal connected health, at every age and stage of life.
While all of the talks at the conference were engaging, there were a few that we found to be particularly thought-provoking.
Advancing the healthspan
Dr. Joseph Kvedar, vice president of Partners Healthcare, kicked-off the conference, exploring the the role connected health solutions have to help us lead more active, fulfilling, and healthier lives as we age. Dr. Kvedar’s central point was that technology would enable a “healthspan” for individuals to not just live longer, but to live better:
“Now that we've extended the lifespan, our first priority should be to enhance the healthspan, by giving people the tools needed to improve their health and inspire them to maintain healthy lifestyle choices through their later years. And of course, connected health is an important part of the solution."
Dr. Kvedar outlined three main priorities for enhancing the healthspan, specifically for the elderly:
consider aging as an opportunity rather than a burden,
rethink predictors of longevity to include sense of purpose, social connections and physical activity, and
create one-to-many care delivery models to manage chronic illness with more user-friendly personal health technologies.
While healthcare has relied on the young to provide care and support for their elders, Kvedar argues that digital technologies will become increasingly necessary to mass-deliver personalized care, especially as the aging population continues to grow.
Digging into patient-generated health data
Our very own Justin Williams, CEO and founder of Noteworth, spoke on a panel with leaders from Medtronic, Becton Dickinson and Verizon Wireless about how patient-generated health data (PGHD) can impact health care delivery, and how it can add value to both clinicians and patients. The panelists opened the discussion by discussing the definition and implications of incorporating patient-generated health data into care.
“PGHD is information collected from outside of the doctor’s office that enables us to stitch together a more complete story of the patient’s health, allowing for a better relationship and more feedback loops between clinicians and patients,” Williams said.
As the adoption of digital devices and connectivity access has skyrocketed over the past five years, he pointed out that it’s now easier than ever to collect data from patients to uncover and address a wide range of clinical applications, including understanding the role social determinants play in health outcomes.
The panelists concluded that for PGHD to be effective, the process must begin with trust—that patients need to believe PGHD is going to help them if they are going to participate and consistently deliver health information to their doctors. Noteworth addresses this by ensuring patients have a sense of “ownership” and “agency” when they are enrolled to the platform that starts in the clinician’s office.
“We do not believe in pushing any technology onto the patient. Instead, we ensure the experience for patients is seamless, easy-to-use, and that they have clear expectations on what to do when their physician prescribes a Noteworth virtual care model to them. They are given a ‘job’ in their own health.”
Check out the live tweet for the PGHD panel play-by-play.
Designing the human(e) experience
Adrienne Boissy, chief experience officer at Cleveland Clinic, urged conference attendees to put themselves in the patient’s shoes when developing health technologies, or choosing which technologies to use. Before technology, we need more compassion, empathy, humility and mindfulness in health care, she said.
Boissy also explained that technology could very easily solve the issues patients commonly face in healthcare today, such as not being able to schedule appointments when they need to, or not knowing medication costs upfront.
However, it could also pile on more suffering to an already suffering patient. Although the suffering a patient may be experiencing is unavoidable, such as chemotherapy, some of the suffering is avoidable, she said.
It comes down to choosing the right technologies to provide the right services and the right information. "The technology isn't the solution," Boissy says. For instance, physicians don’t want artificial intelligence but, rather, the output of AI – clinical decision support, diagnostics, more personally tailored care plans for their patients and so on. "The solution is using that technology to enable the right solution."
So, what’s next in connected health?
As the conference wrapped up, the collective goal seemed clear: to prove that digital health solutions can play an effective part in the patient’s connected life and care journey, we must ensure they are designed and built with the end users in mind. Connected technology has much promise and some early proven wins, both to empower patients to better manage their health and to support the workflow of clinicians and caregivers.
Huge thank you to the Personal Connected Health Alliance team, everyone who stopped by and said hello to us at the conference, or attended our panel. If you weren’t able to talk to us in Boston, or want to learn more about our platform, get in touch!