Mobile health solutions for collecting patient data via communicating medical devices are opening new possibilities for remote monitoring and management of individuals suffering from chronic illnesses. At the same time, the ‘quantified self’ has gained increasing mass market appeal through the availability of personal, connected devices that can track human physical activity. These are resulting in new behaviours and attitudes around exercise and well-being and represent a promising future for a truly preventive approach to healthcare, considered a key solution to rising public health issues such as obesity and diabetes. However, if this future is to become a reality, we must overcome the hurdles that today are standing in the way of true consumer e-health/m-health adoption.
Public healthcare authorities around the world are striving to address the increasing cost burden of remedial healthcare; the number of preventable deaths continues to increase in most countries around the world, which are now counted in the tens of millions each year. In this context, preventive healthcare is not just a business opportunity but a pressing national public healthcare priority. The rise of the health consumer and patient empowerment through digital healthcare innovations provides new hope that public healthcare systems can face, and ultimately overcome, these mounting pressures.
In an effort to capitalize on the potential of digital healthcare and the rise of the proactive “health consumer”, medical device manufacturers are moving from one-shot medical device product strategies toward ‘connected medical device’ service strategies.
As the digital healthcare market continues to develop, the need to address the barriers to its expansion becomes increasingly significant
These new service strategies represent considerable new opportunities for the medtech industry. Yet, as the digital healthcare market continues to develop, the need to address the barriers to its expansion becomes increasingly significant. The list includes the typical challenges that have become a sort of ‘hit list’ for digital healthcare service innovation: adapted regulatory frameworks, interoperability, viable payment or reimbursement models and new patient care workflows.
Despite today’s low evidence of successful B2C business models, the emerging digital wellnesss, prevention and healthcare space represents a great opportunity for existing players and new entrants within the healthcare market, which remains perhaps the most complex value chain on the planet. This evolution will not be homogeneous, there will be different approaches based on cultural differences in each region. The patient-physician relationship is perceived differently in countries around the world, new patient care workflows will develop iteratively.
Preventive health draws on a wide range of existing technological opportunities, from personal wellness devices through to the storage, management and retrieval of personal health data storage, all the way through to specialized applications for monitoring individuals’ health status. Healthcare is facing a new digital frontier, and this will fundamentally change how care is delivered as current challenges are met and overcome.
– Benjamin Sarda
Director of Product Marketing for Orange Healthcare
This blogpost is part of the Health Consumerism series. It was contributed by one of the speakers at MedTech Europe’s “European MedTech Forum 2014”. Follow #mtf2014 to be part of the conversation.