02.26.2016Enterprise Tech

The role of mHealth in an evolving digital healthcare ecosystem

Recently, Nancy Green, the global healthcare practice lead for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, participated in a MedTech Intelligence-sponsored conference, mHealth for Medical Device Manufacturers, in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 3-4.

Focused on medical device manufacturers, the conference explored how connected technologies and mobile apps are having a profound impact on the way that medical data and services are purchased, implemented, managed and secured. The panel that Green participated on along with other industry thought leaders, The Evolving World of Health Care and the Role of mHealth, focused on the how the connected and data-driven healthcare ecosystem is impacting the medical device industry and changing business models, as well as the expectations of patients, providers and payers.

During the panel, Green noted that medical device manufacturers should truly understand who their customer is and what they expect, pointing out that the paradigm has shifted.  The patient is now the customer, not the doctor. Patients, driven by increased awareness and availability of information enabled by digital technologies, are increasingly taking control of their personal healthcare and this extends to the purchase of a wide variety of health monitoring and fitness devices. Among the other points made during the panel were the following:

  • Industry disruption. Consumer-driven healthcare is driving change across the entire healthcare ecosystem. Empowered with information, patients expect access to their health data and an intimate role in care decisions. This is forcing providers, payers and device manufacturers to adapt and evolve.
  • Data. Data has always been essential in healthcare but its role is growing more important, especially as new ways of collecting and sharing it have become widely adopted. This raises interesting questions. How is it secured? Where is it housed? Who needs access? How will it be used? Ultimately, data needs to be actionable and actionable data equates to data on which analytics can be performed to inform decision making, identify trends and drive new care regimens.
  • Trust Factor. Related to data, trust is particularly relevant for practitioners developing care recommendations for patients and researchers identifying best practices or new methods. There are differences in human data (that provided by patients and subject to manipulation) and machine data (trusted data that is automatically captured and shared by medical devices.) Both are relevant but the distinctions and limitations of each must be understood and taken into account.
  • Contextual Relationships. Another factor related to data and the trust factor. Increasingly, data, whether it is human generated or machine generated, needs to be evaluated and utilized in tandem with environmental factors. For example, take the case of a patient with high blood pressure. Is their blood pressure high because they just ate a salt-laden meal or because their medication needs to be adjusted? Understanding the data by melding machine data within the context of patient activities will only grow in importance.

These topics and a broad range of health IT-related subjects will be prevalent topics of discussion at the HiMSS 2016 Conference & Exhibition taking place in Las Vegas from Feb. 29-March 4. If you’re planning to attend next week, please stop by the Verizon booth (Main Level 2, Halls A-D, #4454) to connect with Nancy or one of our other health IT subject matter experts. For social media enthusiasts, make plans to visit the Verizon Social Media Center (Main Level 2, Venetian Ballroom, #7131) to share your digital healthcare stories via Twitter. 

In addition, Verizon will have a presence in the Connected Health Experience (Lower Level 1, Marco Polo, #15004) and the Interoperability Showcase (Lower Level 1, Hall G. Visit the Verizon Enterprise Solutions website for information on our health IT solutions. Follow Verizon Enterprise Solutions on Twitter @VZEnterprise.