Patients have more control over their healthcare than ever. But do they have the tools to control it properly?
Not even five years ago, patients relied on their doctors for just about everything, from preventative care to diagnosis to treatment. This put the doctor firmly at the center of their health control decision-making process. For the patient, this meant relying on third-person information from their doctor. Which kept the patient from assuming real responsibility for their overall health.
Things have changed radically since then. We now live in a time where the consumer/ patient is more educated and empowered, with a vast array of web applications that address their health concerns at their fingertips, courtesy of Dr. Google. If they are self-directed and want to know or something suddenly happens to their health and they become motivated to learn through context, it’s readily available to them.
Biometric smartwear: something new up your sleeve
Today, patients are consuming information in a host of virtual ways: web, mobile apps, contextual learning, games, social platforms, wearables, and now even clothing, also known as biometric smartwear.
Biometeric smartwear such as OMsignal.com tracks your performance, health and fitness in real time by monitoring your heart rate, breathing and movement. Prescriptive notifications assist in post-training recovery by monitoring how your body behaves over time, and providing key data. For athletes, it provides a seamless integration of function and technology.
Imagine what smartwear could do for a patient.
Applying the sophistication of biometric smartwear to healthcare could truly transform patients’ lives. For say, a COPD patient, biometric smartwear could provide contextual learning, along with a tracker that would alert them as their breathing changes. In addition to providing information in real time, it would also drive future accountability to one’s health. The patient is finally able to take control of their health — without any excuses.
The medtech patient is the patient of the future.
A medtech patient could be someone struggling with a condition or with a family history of a certain disease who looks to technology to help them address and cope with their situation. This could mean genetic testing to proactively uncover whether they are predisposed to a disease, setting up a virtual doctor visit, playing a video game that educates them in an interactive way about their disease, or wearing a device that tracks their movement, sleep and food intake.
Medtech could have an equally revolutionary effect on the creators of technology in addition to the users of it. The shift to a population of “medtech patients” fosters an environment in which tech start-ups and healthcare companies can effectively facilitate healthy patient behavior transformation through the use of technology. It’s a huge opportunity for all kinds of companies to innovate around simple engaging experiences that drive the patient to take action. It’s about designing with the customer in mind, even creating products they don’t yet know they need.
Information is a great thing, but it’s what you do with it that matters.
Leveraging technology to enable the patient to be in the know in real time can help us all understand the meaning of patient behavior. Biometric smartwear can tell the patient what’s working and why, and this helps motivate them to stay healthy or become healthier. In some cases, the patient’s only form of control is deciding which kind of therapy they will take or not. In other situations, the patient can truly be the leader in changing their health future. We will all be medtech patients one day.