• January 13, 2017

Care Anywhere: Extending Digital Care

By Susan Arthur

With 40 million plus people now receiving some form of care in the U.S. – and that number continues to grow – we see a renewed focus on shifting care to homes and assisted living environments.  Digital technologies are vital to reducing the cost, and ensuring the quality, of care delivered in these settings.

In our previous post, we examined how digital transformation is driving intelligence across the healthcare spectrum. Now let’s take a peek at how those changes are making care more accessible.

Data and connectivity are the keys. Stakeholders across the healthcare value chain now leverage Big Data and analytics to assess patient physical and mental conditions, to track medical data, and to custom-tailor treatment regimens.  The increasingly ubiquitous Internet of Things (IoT) has seen sensors and portable, web-enabled devices redefine care in the home, in nursing settings, and in hospitals.

Connected home care can now encompass automated devices to help elderly patients monitor and manage medications. Medical systems, such as inhalers and oxygen tanks, now record usage data, and forward that information directly to physicians or technologists.

Web-enabled locks and location-based sensors ensure that patients are safe and where they should be. “Smart home” automation systems are being customized to help autistic or otherwise challenged consumers manage locks, thermostats, stoves, and other systems.

Some of those most at need, and who most need the benefits of “care anywhere”, include patients who are older, or who suffer from chronic, debilitating conditions.

In late November, the U.S. Senate passed the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes (ECHO) Act, creating a national network of telemedicine platforms for hard-to-reach areas.  Michigan recently approved legislation allowing healthcare providers to use telehealth technology with patient’s consent.  A Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan serving 1.5 million members in upstate New York will roll out digital doctor visits in early 2017.

On-the-go patients and consumers – who are increasingly familiar with mobility, social media, and other technologies – welcome these innovations.  Forward-looking healthcare organizations are responding.

The Mayo Clinic has introduced emergency video telemedicine to help community hospitals use advanced resuscitation methods during high-risk deliveries.  The American Medical Association recently adopted principles designed to ensure the safe and effective use of mobile applications and devices in clinical care.

On the business side of our industry, companies are deploying digital, cloud-based platforms to support collaborative R&D efforts, virtual labs, safety and compliance efforts. Those advances contribute to stronger and more profitable enterprise performance, it’s true but they also help make care more affordable and accessible to patients worldwide.

Next up in our blog series:  how the digital revolution is shifting control to a new generation of more informed, self-directed healthcare consumers.

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About the Author
Susan Arthur, Vice President & General Manager, Health & Life Sciences, Canada Public Sector, and Communications, Media and Entertainment industry groups, Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Susan Arthur is Vice President and General Manager of a number of high growth industry groups within the Enterprise Services division of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. As leader of the Health & Life Sciences, Canada Public Sector, and Communications, Media and Entertainment industry groups, she is focused on helping clients transform their businesses so they can operate and compete more effectively in the digital economy.

Susan is responsible for developing and executing her business’ overall strategy, client success and financial results. Leading a $2.3B extended team of more than 15,000 client-focused professionals, Susan’s organization has built successful relationships and driven superior client value.

She is a frequent speaker on healthcare, leadership and digital transformation issues. Susan served as a member of the World Economic Forum Healthcare Industry Working Group for the Digital Transformation of Industries: Healthcare Whitepaper in January 2016. She has also served in key leadership roles in the tech industry advisory and nonprofit organizations having recently completed her term as Chair of the CompTia, State and Local Government Council Executive Board. From 2010 – 2014, she served on the Tech America Executive Committee and chaired their Health IT Committee. Susan was honored for her work in tech services and government with a 2014 State Scoop 50 Industry Leadership Award.