STOCKHOLM – Smartphones and wearables are creating a more informed patient, a development that is rapidly changing the face of healthcare.
“The change of power to the patient is here to stay,” said Professor Martin Ingvar of the Karolinska Institutet, as he held up his smartphone during a talk at Ericsson’s Business Forum in Stockholm. “Ninety-Eight percent of patients in Sweden that enter the hospital have a smartphone.”
Ingvar made the point that the amount of information and data that patients have at their fingertips is forcing major changes across an otherwise antiquated healthcare system that largely treats symptoms and ignores prevention. Aside from smartphone, wearables are also tracking patient vitals and activities.
“These wearables are storming ahead,” Ingvar said. “Right now, most of them are really dumb, but I promise you going forward we have a lot of really fun stuff coming up.”
A doctor himself, Ingvar conceded that more knowledgeable patients armed with a smartwatch full of data and the wealth of information on the Internet are tough proposition for doctors to accept.
And while the amount of available data is increasing exponentially, Ingvar pointed out that putting that information to use is another story.
“The problem is not to get the information but to select the information that we get,” he said. “The healthcare industry now is rapidly developing software to decide what is important in this bush of information.”
To that end, Ingvar stressed the importance of standards and security in developing the new healthcare infrastructure, where hospital stays are kept to a minimum through remote monitoring and preventative measures.
Ingvar stressed that monitoring patients after they leave their provider is also important. He said that part of that need stems for the necessity to quantify the value of patient care.
In the end, the goal is to ensure that aging patients that are living longer and healthier lives, are able to care for themselves.
“The demographic challenge is all about the maintenance of autonomy,” Ingvar said.
Filed Under: Infrastructure