The rise of mobile technologies within the healthcare industry has generated an explosion in the availability of health-focused products. From heart-tracking wearables to fitness apps, the general public has never had such a wealth of informative health tracking tools available to them. A consequence of the emergence of these products is a natural output of mass data. With such data concerning areas such as diet, physical health, fitness and more, this should represent an incredible opportunity in the healthcare industry. However, the industry lacks a centralized system. Currently, there is a disconnect in the sector which runs deeply. To exemplify, a patient who visits a walk-in center on one day can be referred to see a doctor the following day. At this point, the patient would often need to 'restart', with no records transferred. Here the connected healthcare experience is being explored. It is being examined how health products and the data produced could be linked to create a centralized database for analysis, and how all this could fit into a public system is being considered.
Fragmented Healthcare Industry
A single database for health provides benefits both individually and for society. Every member of the system can contribute to a profile of themselves by using the healthcare products available to them. Such profiles can be linked into public health systems to inform medical professionals of information such as physical activity, diet and more. Doing so will help increase the accuracy of diagnosis, and ultimately save time for our doctors and nurses - helping address a fundamental industry issue. However, profiles would be the first step in a new generation of healthcare. Collectively, this data can then be used to feed into a comprehensive database, allowing governing bodies to gauge health issues, both nationally and on more targeted scales. Budgets can then be dedicated to tackling major issues in communities.
The Big Picture
In recent years, virtual, mixed and augmented reality have continued to become more accessible. As adoption of immersive tech grows, new possibilities will arise in the healthcare industry, most specifically in increasing efficiency. Dedicated applications can be built to deliver 'virtual appointments', not only saving time for doctors and patients alike but also increasing the accessibility of healthcare provision. Elsewhere, mixed reality headsets can be used by the public to self-diagnose. Using image recognition, headsets could identify issues accurately. Immersive technology also makes self-treatment a more feasible option and can reduce human error by providing guidance on dosage. Accessibility can be further enhanced via the use of voice control. Any use of such technology would link to the centralized healthcare database. Again, this would lead to a dramatic increase in efficiency for medical professionals, reducing paperwork and providing them with a more comprehensive, consistently recorded summary of each patient.
Perhaps the most powerful benefit of a centralized healthcare system is the ability to analyze this data en-masse. Such information, reviewed with the use of AI, can lead the industry into a new era. Assistive healthcare would encompass a more proactive approach to battling against health issues. Components of AI such as machine learning would help identify trends and patterns between data like physical fitness, diet, weight, heart rate and more. The system could then flag when a patient is at risk, and advise as to how to address the threat. Accordingly, the system would shift the sector. The transformation would take the industry from a focus on diagnosis and treatment to prediction and prevention. Of the former, diagnoses could be partially automated, while a more proactive approach would reduce the need for treatment. Ultimately, this would lead to saved time and reduced cost in the industry.