HIMSS 2017: The connected healthcare revolution has started—but there are obstacles

Connected health using technologies has improved care delivery across the healthcare continuum. In a presentation at HIMSS 2017 in Orlando, Jeroen Tas, chief innovation and strategy officer at Royal Philips, examined the role of technology and barriers organizations may face in implementing connected health technology.

He described how digital technologies assist the transition into personalized healthcare delivery and how healthcare alliances improve quality and efficiency. In this changing industry, Tas reiterated the effects of connected care and health informatics. Prevention, diagnosis and treatment can be improved with innovations such as artificial intelligence, virtual care networks, cybersecurity and precision medicine.

“In order to have continuous care for patients, you need to start looking at virtual care networks,” said Tas. “It means you have to find different ways to connect and meeting people at the right time. Technology drives this. The Internet of Things gives us the opportunity to stream data and track subtle changes the naked eye cannot see and see onsets 10 years in advance. Looking at therapy a different way means we have the opportunity to create better outcomes.”

Wide longitudinal data is collected with smart wearables. Deep data is analyzed using technology with the ability to provide more detailed information than before. Algorithms can interpret big data to improve pattern recognition. The possibilities are many.

“The platform economy is going to be very important to finding ways to bringing different services together in the care pathway,” said Tas. “If you want to create better outcomes you must have control over the full care pathway. No one can do this alone so you must ask, ‘How can I get these different factors to work together?’ because they all contribute to a better outcome in the care pathway.”

While full implementation of connected health is down the road, the future looks promising. Before ending his presentation, Tas asked audience members where their organizations were in implementing wearable sensors, a start into connected health. Roughly half the audience said their organizations were adapting them within a year or two.

“It’s not going to be an easy transformation, but the transformation has started,” concluded Tas.