The Future of Healthcare is Wearable

Contributed by:

Matt Balogh, Senior VP, Chief Technology Officer, Ogilvy CommonHealth part of Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide

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EHR is connecting our healthcare, the Internet of things is connecting our world, and now wearables are connecting everything else. With health data becoming increasingly more standardized and accessible, there is a future where healthcare is personalized not just to our health, but also to our lives.

It’s Monday morning and you overslept again. You jump out of bed, take a quick shower, and stand on the scale to see how badly you indulged this weekend. After throwing on some clothes, you grab a quick bite to eat and get ready to rush out the door. Just then your smartphone rings. It’s the NP from your doctor’s office, and she wants to video chat.

You look at your Basis watch, which has become a seamless part of your life. Basis, one of the most advanced sleep tracking wearables today, has been monitoring your sleep habits over the past few weeks and noticed a significant upward trend in how much you’ve been sleeping, along with your decreased exercise. It’s paired with your Medisana TargetScale 2, which detected a statistically high weight gain.

And don’t forget your digital pillbox, which is paired to the Proteus sensor in each of your pills. You’ve missed a few doses of your treatment, and that information was relayed to a 2Net-powered health dashboard. All of this has triggered a notification to your specialist.

So now your phone is ringing. You begin the video chat and a familiar healthcare professional appears on the other end. “Good morning,” she says. “We’ve noticed you’ve been off your medication regimen, so we wanted to check in and make sure everything is alright.”

Some people experience side effects, and she wanted to let you know they are there to help tweak the dosage and give you some tips to help minimize possible effects. Additionally, there have been some abnormalities in your vitals, including sleep habits and weight gain, so she’d like to move up your scheduled visit for two months from now to later this week…

An Every Day Connected Journey

Every day our personal journey builds a story about our choices and our actions. New technology is making it easier for us to share this data. In the past, we have had to endure methods prone to sample, transcription, omission, and response errors as we attempted to recall, verbalize, and log what we deemed important parts of the story.

Wearables are the key to completing the story. According to Jennifer Erwitt, in her book The Human Face of Big Data, “…in the first day of a baby’s life today, the world creates 70 times the data contained in the entire Library of Congress.”

From there we make many choices and take many actions that affect our health and wellness. We choose what to eat, how much to sleep, when to exercise, which doctors and specialists we see. We go places, interact with others, and create families and networks.

Plotting the Data Points

Each of these choices and resulting actions is a data point that can be plotted and used to help personalize our healthcare. Sleep monitors and wireless scales are just the beginning. Intelligent pills use simple potato-clock technology to power microchips that collect and transfer data with our own bodies. Fitness trackers plot our activity, apps track our food consumption, services map our genome, thermostats track our environment, GPSs monitor our travel, tattoos plot our stress, systems manage our calendar, clothes correct our posture, glasses give us a heads-up display, watches track our heart rate, scales still record weight but also several other vitals, and the list goes on.

These devices exist, and more are on the way. eMarketer estimates that by 2018 there will be over 64 million wearables in the market. The technology and sensors are continually evolving, collecting more and different data. Data that can be leveraged to personalize our healthcare.

Historically this was not an option. Each wearable paired with a corresponding mobile app, and that’s where — without a complex third-party service — the data stopped. But in September, Apple changed that when it officially announced HealthKit and Health app. HealthKit is a centralized set of interfaces that allow each of these devices to talk to Health app. Health app is a simple yet powerful centralized point of data storage and viewing. Together these two systems both standardize how health and wellness data is stored and provide a singular point of connectivity to our health records.

EHR giant Epic is already on board, with others having plans to follow suit. With hardly a few weeks on the market, this trend is inspiring.
EHR is connecting our healthcare, the internet of things is connecting our world, and now wearables are connecting everything else. With health data becoming increasingly more standardized and accessible, I envision a future where healthcare is personalized not just to our health, but also to our lives.

Contributed by: Matt Balogh, Senior VP, Chief Technology Officer, Ogilvy CommonHealth part of Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide.  Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide — the health behavior experts of Ogilvy & Mather — committed to creativity and effectiveness in healthcare communications, everywhere. For more information, visit ochww.com.

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