Consumers expect game-changing technology

It’s a game-changer if it has the potential to change the outcomes. We often see how new technology creates a big shift in the market.

Uber car service has been taking hold in large cities over the past few years. It’s even come to Ann Arbor. Is it a game-changer in local transportation? Looks like it. I know there is plenty of controversy right now about Uber and their business practices but you have to admit they have figured out how to leverage GPS technology and mobile devices in new ways. I experienced this first hand recently when I used an Uber to get to the airport. No question it was easy and convenient.

And that’s what consumers look for in the products and services they buy: easy, reliable, convenient, and low cost. We all love that one-click purchasing on Amazon: buy a book and it immediately downloads to our Kindle readers – a game-changer in the book business!

We, health care IT leaders, are sometimes criticized for being behind in adopting new technology.  We, as consumers, experience the same cool apps and convenient online services that everyone else does. Our users wonder why we aren’t deploying equally easy apps.

Apps that report the wait times for ED and urgent care are becoming common. Apps that capture self-reported health care data are also becoming more common. Apps that provide internal building way finding through the maze of hallways in many health care facilities are becoming more common, too. But there are many more opportunities within health care. We see the ways that technology is leveraged in all parts of our lives – we expect it and even take it for granted. It’s past time that we start applying more of these to health care.

My daughter in Boston is a new mom, her baby arrived two weeks early. The first weeks at home for parents and baby are a challenge on many fronts. Just keeping track of a newborn’s inputs and the outputs can be a project – especially when there are short term weight gain goals.  As a tech savvy new mom, my daughter thought – “there must be an app for that.”  There were many options; she chose BabyFeed. Mom and Dad update data during the day and overnight on their mobile devices using their shared baby account. It helps them remember the last feeding time, the amount, how many wet diapers…. you get the picture. When I saw the app, the CIO and grandma in me thought it should be uploaded through a patient portal so their pediatrician can see the summary and graphs at their next visit.

Google Glass and Apple HealthKit hold promise to be game-changers in health care. There are plenty of smart folks doing exciting pilots. I’m watching these new developments with interest. What are your thoughts and ideas on apps to improve the patient experience and health outcomes?

14 thoughts on “Consumers expect game-changing technology

  1. Cybill Starr on said:

    I love our patient portal. In the past I had to call the clinic when I needed a refill or just have a quick question for my provider, now I just whip out my smartphone and away it goes! Such a time saver – plus I really hate talking on the phone. I’m weird like that.

    Having worked on the lab results in the portal I get a happy smirk every time I see mine populate the app. It is one of my favorite accomplishments as I get to experience the impact in my own family. It’s fun to say “I built that!” every time my husband sees his results. Thankfully he doesn’t get tired of hearing it!

  2. I always enjoy reading your posts Sue. I like the professional tone and the quality of the posts. But I feel the need to “chime in” on this one :-)

    Call me old school but I’m still a believer in learning how to crawl before walking and walking before running thus I’m ok with healthcare lagging behind early adopters of “Game changing” technology. I understand new technology is vogue, hip, and fun to talk about at school and cocktail parties. However, ALL “Game Changing” technology comes with risks and unintended consequences so it is vey important the healthcare sector proceed with some caution. Most new technology is being rushed into the marketplce with little, or no (ie social media), regard for security and privacy.

  3. Sri Bharadwaj on said:

    How about a situation where patients come in only when they have been asked to come in by their physician. A game changer is when a physician makes “telehouse” visits, which is secure, can bill for it, and is sharing the EMR with the patient as part of the virtual encounter. Why do we need waiting rooms?

    • Chris Greene on said:

      Building on Sri’s comment, I had to renew my driver’s license this month. When I went online to find the nearest office, I discovered that I could schedule a time to come in, or “get in line online.” When my turn in line draws near, the system will text or call me. I began to wonder: where else in my life am I waiting around needlessly? How can we use IT to avoid unnecessary wait times for patients?

    • Sue Schade on said:

      Sri, great question. Let’s hope the regulations and reimbursement rules around telehealth continue to advance so we can do more evisits where it makes sense.

  4. Karthik Ramachandran on said:

    Great post Sue… As some one that has lived outside of healthcare IT for a significant amount of time, I find the rate of technology adoption in healthcare to be abysmally slow… I can only speculate that some of the reasoning behind this recalcitrance, is a lack of focus on the customer experience… As providers becomes more dependant on customer loyalty and switching cost becomes low for patients, I see a rapid increase in technology adoption as providers compete for patients by improving their experience in consuming care…

    • Sue Schade on said:

      Karthik, good points. I agree that as health care consumers consider their choices, we will need to look even more at how to improve the customer experience.

  5. Chandra Bondugula on said:

    Congrats Ms. Schade.
    It’s great post. Apple HealthKit is a repository for aggregation of healthcare data about consumers activity from multiple sensors/ wearable devices. Mayo Clinic and Epic have partnered with Apple. The hospitals can use HealthKit data as a tool to develop relationship with consumers before they get sick. According to Dr. Wald, Medical Director at Mayo, the Mayo Clinic app connects HealthKit data to the Electronic Health Record and patients’ personal health data will flow from HealthKit repository into Mayo app, and then into the clinic’s EHR.
    With rapid changes in healthcare, it is vital to reach consumers to motivate and educate them to develop healthier lifestyles and prevent them from emergency hospitalizations.

    Apple HealthKit can be a useful tool in pay for performance model. The ACO’s have the incentive to keep patients healthy and prevent them from readmissions. The hospitals are monitored on 30 day readmissions rates for AMI, CHF, and Pneumonia and the HealthKit can aggregate data from patient monitoring devices. The physicians can pull vital information into the EHR and act accordingly. Mayo Clinic plans to reach millions of consumers through Apple platform to provide health information.
    Since EPIC partnered with Apple, there is potential for all the EPIC customers to aggregate data in Apple HealthKit.
    Does UMHS have any plans to use Apple HealthKit?

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