Now comes Smart Health
First there was e-health, then came mobile health and now comes Smart Health
I strongly believe that Smart Health will be the next meaningful and profound breakthrough for patients, healthcare and medical research. It has the potential to deeply transform healthcare and to have a tremendous impact on the overall wellbeing and health in our society. It will truly be exciting to follow the development over the next coming years.
So, what is the thing with Smart Health? Well, for me the big thing is about connecting new technologies that collects and shares health data. By applying new technologies and “big data” to the healthcare area, a smart health eco system with connected intelligent devices can emerge, a kind of smart network that enable healthcare, and me as patient to monitor, predict and improve physical and mental health in better, smarter and more efficient ways. These intelligent devices can be surgical devices, computing devices, smart phones, biomedical sensors or devices that measures brainwaves. You name it!
There is a flood of sensors being available, there is more or less a sensor for every part of our body, that can actively monitor our health and send critical vital signals to a system, like an electronic health record or a montoring system of elderly patients living at home. Already today we can use a free mobile app to get information on heart rate, skin temperature, activity levels, ECG, and respiratory rate, we can prevent disease by monitoring health through smartphones or smart watches, we can understand unhealthy habits and get personalized support through artificial intelligence and machine learning can enable healthcare to early diagnose cancer and rare diseases.
Just imagine the impact of connecting all this information; I can understand my own health better, healthcare can better and earlier detect disease, as well as take more informed decisions and research can find new, more targeted and effective treatments. Think of devices that can decide on their own what action to take such as an insulin pump that knows when it’s time to give the patient a higher dose, or when it’s time to give a lower dose, based on measures coming in from a contact lens or a patch. Amazing stuff, is it not?
What is then needed to unlock these undisputable values of Smart health?
First and foremost, without liberating data, no Smart health will ever happen. We need to ensure data quality (good and accurate data), data standards, data ethics and data privacy without limiting the opportunities or making it difficult.
Data needs to be stored and shared seamlessly and securely. We need better information technology infrastructure in healthcare and we need inter-device integration. Most devices and applications today, including electronic medical records, do their own thing, store data on their own, creating data silos where the benefits of smart health are more locked than unlocked.
We need data scientists that can crunch and explore the data and we need Smart Health entrepreneurs that can blend streams of information to explore and develop new products, products we cannot imagine today.
We need legislation of today, legislation that enables data sharing and fast implementation of new technologies.
There is no excuse, let’s make Smart Health happen. Me and the rest of the “health industry” is lining up to contribute and together with healthcare, governments and patients enable smart health to improve health of patients and society.
I want to have data from my medical record in my smart phone and I want to connect it with all my other apps and data!
I want my doctor or care provider to have access to smart tools with all my data so the best decisions regarding my health can be made!
I want companies to be able to crunch big amounts of health data, including mine, to find breakthroughs that improve patients’ lives!