- January 11, 2017
Tracking the Digital Healthcare JourneyShare this:
By Susan Arthur
One year ago, HPE collaborated with the World Economic Forum (WEF) on a white paper that explores digital advances in healthcare. In the intervening months, we’ve watched this digital transformation mature and accelerate.
So maybe it’s time for a digital healthcare check-up.
In this series of posts, we will take an updated look at how disruptive technologies are making medical care more intelligent, more available, and more effective. And we’ll examine the steps organizations across the healthcare spectrum can (and must) take to join the Digital Economy.
Informed observers predicted that Smart Care would improve outcomes and cost efficiencies, and that is happening. We’ve seen continued advances and ongoing investments in more personalized and patient-centric treatments, preventive strategies and therapeutic interventions.
In the U.S., President Obama launched the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) with $55 million in awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including funding for a million-person study designed to help develop personalized medical treatments.
In early December, the 21st Century Cures bill was approved overwhelmingly by the U.S. Senate. The measure will boost funding for research on cancer and other diseases by $6.3 billion, while making sweeping regulatory changes designed to accelerate how the Food & Drug Administration handles the approval of drugs and medical devices.
In Europe, the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is the cornerstone of a multi-billion € effort to streamline the drug development process. There are currently more than 50 projects focused on neurological issues, diabetes, oncology, and other conditions. Elsewhere, the Australian-based Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) is researching fundamental causation, treatment, and prevention of cancer, epilepsy, birth defects, and other pediatric diseases.
Exciting research and development is emerging on a number of fronts: the use of Big Data for better patient outcomes, a pan-European network for pediatric clinical trials, and precision medicine methods to address autism spectrum disorders.
Yet as noted by the WEF and others, in many instances this digital transformation is well past the R&D stage – and is now yielding effective and rewarding real-world results.
Consider the evolving field of product manufacturing. 3D printing is now being used to produce patient-specific medical devices, based on the individual patient’s imaging data and matching that person’s unique anatomy. Patient-matched devices can include implants such as hip joints or cranial plates, or external prosthesis. Research is now exploring even more revolutionary uses for 3D printing, such as the production of hearts, livers, and other living organs.
Intelligent systems are driving the shift towards patient-oriented, outcomes-based healthcare. Digital technologies enable more advanced monitoring and adherence, prescriptive health programs, evidence-driven care management, and more workable pricing strategies.
Digital technology supports virtually every Smart Care initiative … and more. In my upcoming posts in this ongoing series, I’ll examine how a connected, data-oriented ecology is making care more accessible, patients more powerful, and companies more profitable.