Statisticians have devised a model for predicting what ailments a patient might encounter in the future based on medical records. This algorithm makes predictions based on the patients past experiences as well as comparison of other patients with a similar medical history. The algorithm provides physicians with insight on what the patient may be experiencing in the future and prepares them for it. This model is different from previous ones because of its ability to analyze and share information across patients who have similar health problems.
This model is meant to provide a more patient centered approach to medical care and to improve patient experiences.
Last week (February 3-4, 2010) I attended the mHealth Networking Conference in DC. Sponsored by mHealth Initiative Inc (mHI), the conference was focused around the use of emerging mobile technologies to improve healthcare delivery. Here are a few themes to give you a flavor: iPhones/mobile phones/Android phones, emailing your doctor, bringing evidence to practice via electronic alerts for patients and physicians, home health monitoring, real-time everything, connectivity, usability, patient literacy, technologies for chronic care management and geriatrics.) The full program seems to still be available, and relevant Twitter posts (e.g., for the #mHealth hash tag) are also available.
Throughout the conference I met a mixture of providers (physicians, nurses, PAs, etc), insurance company representatives, techies/code crunchers, expert patients, and informatics researchers. In fact, according to the mHI, there were about 300 attendees - not too bad for a first shot! Note: A second conference is planned for September 8-9 in San Diego (perhaps they'll provide an option for joining remotely?)
One of the biggest take-home messages I got from the conference is that smart phone technologies won't necessarily solve problems for patients who won't or can't use them (e.g., geriatric patients who may not be able to see small lettering). Usability and design issues again rear their heads in healthcare. We need to attack these issues as a "net", tackling many simultaneously so that when convergence occurs, quality improvement is what emerges.
I also wanted to mention that it was especially interesting to see Adam Bosworth, formerly of Google, present on his new venture Keas, which has the following laudable mission:
To help you understand what your health data means and how you can use it to be as healthy as possible.
Keas is in Beta right now - check it out! (And consider this question: How might healthcare change if the act of interpreting results of diagnostic tests and deciding next steps in treatment is done by a company like Keas?)
Does the doctor always know best?
Have I mentioned lately how grateful I am to have had my tweepiphany? Now that I have access to the collective wisdom of an entire community advocating patient-centered healthcare, I find myself with a steady stream of valuable tidbits that I can address in blog posts or use to poke at med ed colleagues. Such was the source of this article Power to the Patients by the authors of Innovator's Prescription, Clayton Christensen and Jason Hwang.
"...if more patients realized how much influence they could have in their own care, they would discard their roles as passive health care consumers, and would instead become its agents of change."
If you like the article, you ought to try the book...can't borrow ours though, I'm not finished yet.