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The Impact of Digital on Healthcare: Key Trends


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The Impact of Digital on Healthcare: Key Trends

  1. 1. | @ClinicalCURRENTThe Impact of Digitalon Healthcare:Key Emerging TrendsBig [Health] DataInformation OverloadInformed PatientQuantified SelfClinical Current is a digital insight consultancy with specialist knowledge of digital health andinsight methodologies. We are uniquely placed to assist healthcare clients in addressing importantquestions about their digital initiatives, aspirations and market dynamics.Get in touch to find out how we can help you to make more informed decisions for your business.+44 (0) 207 55 88
  2. 2. | @ClinicalCURRENTBIG [HEALTH] DATABig Data is certainly not a new trend but it has now moved beyond academia and specialist practitionersto be relevant to a much larger audience. As innovators have developed new techniques, approachesand technologies our ability to manipulate vast quantities of data and derive meaningful insights hasgrown exponentially.Take, for example, IBM’s Watson computer. Watson can answer natural language queries by processingvast quantities of unstructured data (around 80% of the world’s data is unstructured!) whilst learning asit goes and is very good at giving accurate responses - in 2011 Watson beat top human competitors onthe US game show Jeopardy! Watson is now being used to address complex challenges across a numberof industries.“The combination of multiple large datasets with the computing power tointelligently interrogate the data opens huge possibilities in healthcare.”In healthcare Watson has been taught how to accumulate and understand complicated peer-reviewedmedical knowledge relating to oncology. The data processed has now exceeded 600,000 pieces ofmedical evidence, more than two million pages from medical journals and the further ability to searchthrough up to 1.5 million patient records. The result of all this number crunching? A 90% success rate atdiagnosing lung cancer compared to 50% amongst qualified physicians (more info on IBM Watson).The combination of multiple large datasets with the computing power to intelligently interrogate thedata opens huge possibilities in healthcare. A widely tipped benefit of Big Data analysis is the ability tospot trends and interrelationships that would previously have gone undetected. As we build evermoredetailed pictures of patients’ histories they can be analysed in conjunction with data on druginteractions, adverse event notifications and demographic information. It’s now within the realms ofpossibility that such analyses could be used to make a faster and more accurate diagnosis, to optimise atreatment algorithm or even to spot the unique set of circumstances that undermine treatment success.Application of Big Data and technologies that can be used to interpret the disparate information havehuge potential to make a positive impact on healthcare. Health services will be able to manage theirresources more effectively, healthcare providers will be able to deliver more personalised and targetedcare and patients can expect significantly improved chances of treatment success.
  3. 3. | @ClinicalCURRENTINFORMATION OVERLOADWith so much information available it’s hard for physicians to keep up to date with the latestdevelopments and it’s a real challenge for patients to know where to look to find the best and mostaccurate information relating to their condition. Going back to IBM Watson, the medical support teamcalculated that it would take physicians 160 hours per week out of the 168 available to read all therelevant newly published medical literature. For patients, a Google search maybe the starting point buthow do they decide which is most relevant and credible of the thousands of results returned - especiallywhen top results can often be forum posts which rely more on uninformed opinion and hearsay thanhard evidence?“Forward thinking organisations are moving beyondcontent creation to content curation.”There’s now so much content available that forward thinking organisations are moving beyond contentcreation to content curation. There’s always going to be a need for fresh content as new ideas emergeand advances take place but major benefits can be had from a trusted organisation reviewing existingcontent, filtering out poor quality information and making the good stuff available in an accessibleformat. Boehringer Ingelheim signed a deal with PSFK, a content aggregator, to collate online healthinformation that fits the profile of what the company wants to share. BI then reviews this filteredcontent and shares a curated edit via their Facebook page. This targeted content curation is augmentedby an active social media presence that not only broadcasts but engages followers and helps them getmore from the content BI share.Healthcare organisations have the opportunity to really help patients and their wider audience. Recentresearch by Clinical Current found that although a majority of GPs acknowledged the clinical benefits ofonline support communities for their anxiety and depression patients very few ever suggested theirpatients actually use one. The reason? GPs were overwhelmed by the amount of sites available andhadn’t had the time to make a list of ones they’d be happy recommending. What they wanted was adirectory of such online support communities with key details that they could pass on to their patients.Any healthcare organisation with an interest in mental health could generate significant goodwill byinvesting a small amount of time and resources in researching and compiling a patient communitydirectory. Indeed, when we consider the number of therapy areas where such a service might be usefulor the many other simple services that could be provided there is clearly great opportunity forhealthcare organisations to help meet a particular patient need and add value to their business at thesame time.
  4. 4. | @ClinicalCURRENTINFORMED PATIENTDigital has opened a huge number of new channels catering to the needs of patients. These channelsimpart information, act as a forum for shared experiences and facilitate dialogue with HCPs to addresspatients’ concerns. Ultimately, this has the effect of enabling patients to become more knowledgeableand informed about their condition and as their knowledge develops they become more confident intheir understanding which empowers them to engage with their health in new ways.“Digital channels impart information, are a forum for shared experiencesand facilitate dialogue with HCPs to address patients’ concerns.”Large research studies have sought to understand the changing nature of health information and howit is accessed and consumed by patients. This has ultimately led to a European wide framework forpromoting ‘the informed patient’. At the intersection of information and curation is the US-basedInformed Patient Institute. This independent non-profit organization has a mission is to facilitateaccess to credible online information about health care quality and patient safety.Elsewhere, online communities are providing a meaningful outlet to patients with a wide range ofchronic diseases including depression and anxiety. Sites such as the Black Dog Tribe place an emphasison community and shared experiences which are invaluable when dealing with a condition that slowlysaps away any feelings of connectedness and willingness to socialise. And when it comes to seekingadvice from HCPs, sites like HealthTap and OrganizedWisdom provide accessible and easy to navigatetools to accessing qualified medical expertise.As patients become more informed and engaged, this changes the dynamic of healthcare and opens upnew possibilities to deliver effective treatment and management solutions. Patients who understandtheir condition are known to make better lifestyle choices, adapt their behaviour in positive ways and bemore likely to comply with their medication. In short, with all other things equal, the informed patient ismore likely to achieve a better outcome.
  5. 5. | @ClinicalCURRENTQUANTITATIVE SELFThe Quantified Self (QS) movement is one example of how individuals are making Big Data personal.People around the globe are monitoring everything from their health, fitness, diet, sleep patterns andeven mood. We now have the technological hardware and software in our pockets to measure thesmallest details about our lives and compile reams of personal data. New applications are emergingthat enable us to display and engage with our personal data in ways that enhance our understanding ofour own bodies and encourage us to change our behaviour in order to lead healthier, happier and moreenlightened lives.“The Quantified Self movement gives meaning to data andenables people to write stories about their own lives.”Products such as Fitbit, Nike’s Fuelband and JawboneUp give users the tools to capture informationabout themselves as they go about their daily lives. But data on its own is of little use, the realrevolution is in how it is analysed, displayed and formatted. The new technologies are developed to givemeaning to the data so that the information generated is turned into more than just a binary datasetand used to enable people to write stories about themselves. These stories helps individuals to find outnew things about themselves – their sleep patterns and the things that can alter them; their level offitness and the things they do that impact on performance; their mood and the lifestyle choices thatdetermine whether they have a good or bad day.Through this new self-awareness people are becoming more informed about the impact of their actionson their health and wellbeing. This in turn is enabling people to make decisions that will have a positiveimpact on their life. This enthusiasm for self-tracking opens up opportunities for healthcareorganisations to develop services that integrate with patients’ technological savvy to deliver improvedoutcomes. Doctors could soon routinely prescribe patient monitoring apps so they can build a moredetailed picture of their lifestyle and activity profile. This information could then be augmented by crossreferencing the patient’s heart rate and sleep patterns. Armed with this more detailed understanding ofthe patient, a doctor could alter their proposed course of treatment or suggest practical lifestyleadaptions that would be more appropriate to the patient’s needs.