I just love listening to Dr. Eric Topol, a brilliant cardiologist at Scripps Health and cofounder of West Wireless Health Institute. His attitude and vision is absolutely spot on with how the medical world needs to transform.
I couldn’t agree more with the notion that we need to treat the human vs. the symptom (digital side of it). However, I must say that when confronted with the question of losing communication between patients and doctors with the digital age, I absolutely think that tech will ENABLE and further communication and coordination between patients and doctors. With the rising cost of healthcare and the new reform where Medicare will no longer pay for Readmissions to hospitals (within 30 days). Doctors essentially go from completely omniscient and all knowing (while the patient is in the hospital) to essentially blind when that patient walks out the door. It cannot be surprising when these patients are readmitted back to the hospital because he/she failed to take medications, change his/her lifestyle, couldn’t manage chronic conditions or didn’t understand the instructions. It only makes sense that a digital health technology will take part as a coordination platform for these patients.
Imagine that a patient goes into the hospital for heart problems and immediately is set up with a digital health touchscreen platform. This touchscreen will show the patient videos and instructions about their condition, discharge instructions, educational and fitness videos, medication reminders/prompts (pictures of meds and instructions), doctor notes, etc. This system would also talk wirelessly to blood pressure, weight, pulse ox and glucometers. The system would track wellness readings and could alert a doctor if readings were unusual. When the patient leaves the hospital, this system would follow the patient home. The patient would use it for education, coordination, reminders, telehealth tracking, to video chat with nursing staff and ask questions.
The point is – these systems do no good without human intervention and like all things can enable and empower caregivers and patients to be better.
Read our whitepaper on how I think digital health technology can be deployed post hospitalization, located here:
Kudos to Dr. Topol for being so right on…again!!!!