The transformation of health technology will integrate real-time health information and data analytics at the individual and organisational level.
The smart devices around us constantly collect data about us, home electronics, homes, buildings, means of transport, weather, climate and industrial processes. Some of this information is stored locally, but a growing amount of the data is connected to the Internet. There is an enormous mass of data, but what kinds of uses and significance does it have in healthcare?
A watch you wear can collect real-time health data on your wellbeing, a discrete plaster on your skin can measure your temperature and sweating, and a device monitoring your blood glucose level can administer insulin if needed. The data collected by the IoT devices in health will be integrated in real-time and used for analysing information about the changes in wellbeing. An algorithm will filter out any significant changes that need monitoring and those that will need to be addressed immediately.
Digitalisation of healthcare will personalise care
IoT devices used in healthcare are medical devices that collect reliable and precise health data into the Internet of Medical Things, IoMT, with the purpose of making decisions on care. The IoMT combines real-time data and information about the medical record, genetics, diagnosis and medication of an individual. The monitoring of care and its effectiveness also takes place in real-time and individually.
The transformation in healthcare will result in better care and significant cost savings
Real-time health information will result in changes in the organisation of healthcare, as the data concerning the changes in wellbeing can help to prevent injuries and start treatment faster. It can also help to better monitor the effectiveness of care, for example the effects of medication or physiotherapy.
The focus will shift from a reactive response towards proactive, customised measures that are steered by their effectiveness. In the health, social services and regional government reform in Finland, significant attention is paid to the effectiveness of care. It has a key role, because the effectiveness of care and measures taken impact the quality of care and cost savings the most.
Real-time data analytics can help to understand customer needs and customer structure better, to monitor the effectiveness of healthcare services in real-time and to channel resource needs in accordance with customer segments. Reliable meters make it possible to further develop the care paths and focus areas of operational efficiency. The healthcare resource planning will undergo a major transformation, as the planning will be carried strictly based on both the quality of care and resources. Without real-time information, making choices between quality of care and the costs has been mandatory.
Data analytics and AI will revolutionise the ways of learning of our health
Integrating real-time health data to genomics and medical research at an individual and society’s level will open up a highway to learning more about the health of us all. More and more information will be gained about the development of cardiovascular diseases, correlating factors, care and so on. We will learn how to better treat medical conditions, to manage care and medication at a personal level as well as enhance wellbeing during care. Furthermore, it will be possible to prevent diseases in the future, especially with a better understanding of environmental factors and improved health awareness. The understanding of rare diseases and their treatment will progress in leaps and bounds as it will be possible to integrate the global data on them more precisely than ever before.
The disruption of health technology focuses into good life
The Pink Ribbon campaign last autumn in Finland is collecting money for cancer research that has helped cancer treatment methods make enormous strides. The researchers are already discussing the future and being able to beat cancer completely one day. Health technology is progressing at a fast pace, because of modern data collection, computing power, methods of data analysis and use of AI.
Good life must be the starting point of the disruption of health technology. It is essential that the quality of life of people suffering from a memory disorder can be improved with technology, and they must feel safe and content. Health condition and wellbeing are easy to measure, and you can offer a person with a memory disorder technological tools for help, but there must also be human contact available. Music and touch can be soothing and give pleasure. It could well be that we will be able to prevent and slow down memory disorders better in the future, and ways of life can help to prevent their development.
The disruption of health technology will help us all to feel better and provide us with information on how to effect our health and recover from injuries. At the same time, the liability for decisions will be concretised, because their consequences on wellbeing and good life for us, our loved ones and those around will be better understood. In the disruption of health technology, we must know what is meant by good life and how we should act.
Ethics of the digitalisation of healthcare
The disruption of healthcare date will mean an extensive integration of health data. At the same time, the protection of personal data and the decisions made using the information must be reliable and ethically sustainable.
The Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU 2017/745) on medical devices sets forth requirements and stipulates that only devices, products and software that have been proved safe, reliable and efficient in the utilisation of healthcare data can be used in healthcare. Furthermore, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the EU protects the privacy of information and binds the different parties to ensure the protection of data.
In healthcare, ethical questions are faced each day when personalised decisions on care are made. In data analytics and the use of artificial intelligence, ethical perspectives and the transparency of data are also emphasised. We must understand where neural network calculation will lead and whether the results of the calculation are adequately reliable to base decisions on. When we grant power to artificial intelligence, ethical viewpoints must be fully considered. The Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has raised the topic of the ethical challenges of AI and ways to confront these into public debate and challenged companies to consider these matters (www.tekoalyaika.fi).
Tangible advantages of digital healthcare
Digital healthcare has significant tangible advantages. It helps to obtain better quality of care, personalised treatment of medical conditions and rehabilitation. The need for acute care will decrease, and the patient and their families will be better protected. There will also be substantial cost savings to healthcare with more efficient resource planning thanks to reliable real-time data. The most significant disruption will take place in maintaining health and the prevention and treatment of diseases. Understanding the idea of a good life is in the focus of the healthcare disruption.
As a forerunner of personalised healthcare technology, Vivago® develops smart solutions to monitor and analyse health and wellbeing. Together with Digia – Avarea, Vivago has developed real-time data analytics of health and wellbeing data for the purpose of healthcare management and customer analytics, and to help in the development of the efficiency of care and allocating resources.
- Maria Lavonen, CEO, Vivago Ltd