Do you want online support before-during-after your doctor’s visit?

A vision about supporting
the entire healthcare visit process
for both patients and doctors

Swedish version

Before your visit

Imagine that you have a health problem that you want to book an appointment for at a medical clinic.
You pull out your smartphone and go online to book an appointment. Then a question pops up: “We recommend you to fill in this questionnaire before your appointment so that the doctor has a better view of you needs.”
So of course you accept this and spend a couple of minutes filling in an interactive health survey that helps you understand the probable cause of your health problem. The survey then gives you useful information and advice on what you can do yourself and advice about seeking the right type of healthcare, based on your condition.
If your survey answers indicate that you are at risk of developing some form of chronic disease, you are also asked to go through an interactive screening survey for that.
Based on your identified health problem, the system also suggests that you should take some blood tests so that the doctor can see the results during your appointment. The system automatically generates a lab remittance, so that you can go anytime to a test center and take your tests. A few hours later you get a text message: “Your lab tests are now ready, log in here to see the results”.
In your lab results, you can see how your values have changed over time, read about what they indicate and what you can do to optimize the values.
A summary of your health surveys and lab tests are automatically available to your doctor during your visit.

During your visit

When you meet your doctor, the two of you sit down with an iPad that is showing your summary.
As you go through the results together, the doctor can directly on the iPad verify your disease history and earlier medications. The doctor can also show short videos explaining possible types of treatments. When needed, the decision support system in the iPad also recommends examinations, medication and remittance to a specialist. All this is easily done during the course of a regular doctor’s visit.

After your visit

At the end of your visit you get a printed summary, in the language of your choice. It is also sent to you as a link in a text message or email, so that you easily can share the summary with your family if you want to.
  • What is the plan that we agreed on? (goals we set, what medications should I take, when and how?)
  • What shall I, as a patient, do? (advice on diet and exercise, time for the return visit)
  • Information about my treatment (links to information pages, videos)
  • Who shall I contact if I have questions, and how?

Why is this not widely used today?

Many of us appreciate mobile apps and digital services that support various processes in other service sectors, such as banking, travel and online shopping.
There are no insurmountable, technical obstacles to implementing a comprehensive digital service like this for most types of pre-booked healthcare visits today. There also should not be any economical barriers, as the investment needed to build and manage these types of digital services is extremely small compared to the enormous cost savings and health benefits they enable for the whole healthcare process.
Some parts of the described services already exist in some places, but they are not spread nationally and most often they are only used in small, local pilot projects.
There is a need to change the roles so that the patients get the tools necessary to become more engaged in the healthcare process already from the start, and the doctors act more like coaches and knowledge brokers. This role transition is necessary for the healthcare system, and it is beneficial to everybody.
See also my post What is eHealth?
– Henrik Ahlen,
eHealth Advisor & Production Manager

Two eHealth Driving Forces

Health care systems around the world are now starting to see several disruptive transformations. One of the most important factors behind this is the rapid development in the emerging eHealth services.

But many citizens, doctors and patients are still asking “But what is eHealth good for, really?”. The reason for this is that is so hard for us to imagine new ways of doing things, new types of services that enable new types of interactions between patients and health care.

The future of health care is already here, but it is very unevenly spread in different countries, regions, hospitals, clinics and various patient groups. But it is obvious that eHealth has many possibilities for both patients and healthcare professionals, mainly driven by two disrupting forces; the smartphone and the possibility of continuous health monitoring.

The Smartphone

Patient empowerment is about enabling patients to engage themselves in their own health care.
The main tool for this is the ubiquitous smartphone, our central and very personal communication device.

It’s about self-care through self-tracking. 
Our smartphones are always with us and contain advanced sensors for fitness and health that can track fitness data such as physical activity and other lifestyle factors as well as medical data like heart rate, gait and much more.

There are also hundreds of thousands of health-related apps to choose from and a quickly growing array of certified medical body sensors that connect wirelessly to the body and upload personal health data for automatic or manual analysis.

Topol

This is a highly recommended book by Dr Eric Topol, notice his spot-on subtitle “The Future of Medicine is in your hands”.

Dr Topol says: “Smartphones will be immeasurably transformative for the future of medicine.”

 

 

A large International survey of adult smartphone users in 14 countries clearly shows that the citizens are already way ahead of our current health care systems:
“80% of consumers want to interact with their doctors on mobile devices. 2/3 would prefer to get medical advice on their mobile devices instead of going to the doctor’s office.”

Continuous Health Monitoring

“When you go see your doctor, they will give you a bunch
of drugs based on how they saw at one single office visit.
Its almost criminal.”
– Eric Dishman, Director Health Innovation, Intel
 .
A major problem with our current healthcare system is that it is based on spot-checks by doctors only when we experience acute health problems, or during yearly routine check-ups.
At all other times, the doctor is unaware of patient’s health and the patient has no access to personal health data for self-care.
The smartphone and connected medical sensors and devices enable us to track health data continuously.
This has never been possible before and it will have tremendous health benefits:
 .

Benefits for everybody

  • Daily health and fitness tracking.
  • Personal learning tool for insights about my wellbeing and what lifestyle choices that work best for me.

Benefits for patients with chronic diseases

  • Personal learning tool for insights about my disease activity and medication effects related to my lifestyle.
  • Prevention of exacerbations by alerting me when critical medical data trends point towards upcoming complications.

With continuous health monitoring, the health care professionals can have a much more coaching role and be instantly available online when personal contact is needed. It also thereby saves a lot of staff resources and enables many patients to stay in their own homes.

So let’s embrace these possibilities! There are several issues and risks involved that need to be considered and changing work methods is always met with resistance. But the current system is not sustainable and if we involve all the stakeholders in this transformation, the results will be worth it!
  
– Henrik Ahlen, 
eHealth Advisor & Production Manager
See also my post: What is eHealth?

 

Vad är eHälsa?

Uppdaterad 2016-09-05                                            English version:  What is eHealth?

Begreppet eHälsa används ofta för alla typer av IT-tjänster som har med vård och omsorg att göra. Tidbokning av läkarbesök på nätet, journalsystem, elektroniska recept och remisser etc. För mig är alla dessa tjänster nyttiga tekniska IT-tjänster som naturligtvis är viktiga att ha, men de handlar mera om att effektivisera vården än att direkt förbättra hälsa. Dessa typer av tjänster bör därför kallas för Hälso-IT istället.

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