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Digital Health Technology Needs to Fit into the Clinical Workflow

The biggest question when it come to digital health technology is not getting “new, cool stuff” into the hospital, but how can it fit seamlessly into the existing clinical workflow, observed Jaydeo Kinikar, head of marketing and business development at Philips Connected Care Sensing.

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Source: Thinkstock

By Fred Donovan

- CAMBRIDGE—The biggest question when it come to digital health technology is not getting “new, cool stuff” into the hospital, but how can it fit seamlessly into the existing clinical workflow, observed Jaydeo Kinikar, head of marketing and business development at Philips Connected Care Sensing.

Kinikar told a panel here Friday at the MIT Sloan Healthcare and BioInnovations Conference that many physicians don’t have the right tools and training to make sense of the deluge of data from digital devices. “They don’t have the right analytics to make sense of it all,” he said.

Kinikar observed that healthcare is a few years behind other industries in its adoption of digital technology. He said that healthcare business models need to change.

“There are still gaps in the healthcare continuum in making use of data, which needs to be addressed …The key is building a human-centric model,” he said.

Kinikar explained that Philips is moving from an environment where data is used as a “fire alarm,” when something is critically wrong, to an environment where data is used as a “smoke alarm,” when physicians and others are alerted to a smoldering health problem.

READ MORE: Digital Health Is Strategic Priority for Healthcare Investors

Another panelist, Novartis Biome Cofounder Shwen Gwee, observed that data is the future of medicine.

“We are moving from the pharmacological world we are in now to how all of this data is going to shape not only pharmacologics but also digital therapies,” he said.

“There is an opportunity to collect data to make sure everything we do is going to be better in the next round when we update it. It is all about ensuring we are collecting the right data, doing the right testing, working through an agile methodology, so we can get to the right final product and continue to improve on that product,” Gwee said.

Gwee admitted that Novartis and other traditional healthcare firms have collected data that they thought important and stored it in legacy proprietary systems. “We have a ton of data sitting in systems that don’t talk to each other. Now we are in a world we are collecting everything on more open platforms. How do you connect the old data with the new data to make meaningful research?” he asked.

The panel moderator, Hillel Bachrach, managing partner with 20/20 HealthCare Partners, said that this is “the main issue that we are talking about.” Each company has its own data, and data within each company can be siloed as well. “The cardiology department of Novartis has a different database than the oncology department,” he said.

READ MORE: Digital Health Innovators Need to Deliver Results This Year

Pear Therapeutics Chief Commercial Officer Alex Waldron said that his company doesn’t have legacy data like Novartis and Philips. “We have built our company so that the data is in an entirely closed loop system. Any data that comes into our organization comes into one place,” he said.

Pear Therapeutics develops clinically validated software-based therapeutics, digital therapies, and drug/software combinations.

“All of the clinical studies we run are running through the same mechanism that we use to manage patients on a regular basis,” he said. “Within Pear, everything is in the central data set so when the patient goes for a study on schizophrenia and becomes a commercial patient, we compare the data and use the data to evolve the product going forward.”

“We prospectively think when data comes in how are we going to use that data and where does it need to go,” Waldron said.

Podimetrics CEO Jon Bloom said that his company makes software and sensors that can sense a foot ulcer in a diabetes patient days before it shows symptoms. By using this early warning system, patients can be treated without having to amputate his or her foot.

READ MORE: Vendor Partnership Simplifies Digital Health App Building

Bloom stressed that getting the patient to use the technology on an ongoing basis is key. “The single most important statistic that you ask any company out there is what is your long-term adherence … Long-term engagement is everything for us to get good outcomes.”

Another panelist, Welllist Founder and CEO Ashley Reid, said that her company provides integrated patient experience solutions with an engagement platform that addresses patient and care-giver needs.

“We focus on the impact of patient experience scores; we focus on our ability to drive patients to ancillary services … Our ability to engage the patient is really important. We can help our clients make their patients brand ambassadors,” Reid said.  

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