This summer NASA held a conference called, “mHealth – Smart Media and Health: Applications Benefiting Life in Space and on Earth.” You may ask, why would NASA have a conference on healthcare?
“As we consider the issues we need to address for providing health care in space, we find many analogous situations to the needs for health care on Earth — health care devices that are small, lightweight, and portable that can obtain and assess data and transmit data for analysis,” said William H. Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Directorate at NASA headquarters. “By identifying and solving common issues of health care in space and in remote areas on Earth, we will achieve our goal of using spaceflight innovations to benefit all humankind. This workshop was designed to help us do just that.”
One of the presenters was Phil Fasano, EVP and Chief Information Officer, Kaiser Permanente. Phil’s presentation, Consumer-driven health care mobile access for mobile patients (PDF) featured a concept video on how mhealth can effect multiple healthcare interactions.
“A guiding vision of the type of future Kaiser Permanente is helping to build—where information technology enables real-time, personalized care, resulting in improved wellness and affordability.”
I think the video does a great job of showing how information technology can impact healthcare through mobile devices as well as through social media and just getting everything off paper. Healthcare is probably the last hold out in the information age. I always thought it was because entrenched players were making too much money off of the existing paper based system and while I still think that’s an issue I also believe key players in the provider category are so resistant to change that they block any advancements in the vein hope of retaining total control.
At some point the overwhelming benefits from modernizing our healthcare system will catch up to the hold outs and coupled with the new government incentives for meaningful use and the impending explosion of new people covered by health insurance it looks like a huge opportunity to increase performance in an industry category the is 40 years behind.