During the course, Squares are asked to create a whitepaper on how future digital trends will impact an industry. The top 3 from each cohort are published on this blog to share their exciting research with all of you!
Congratulations to Group 17 for this amazing paper on smart-remote diagnostics in the healthcare industry. Team members include Kantar's Anja Milosavljevic, Maciej Wojnarowski, Vanessa Iglesias Garcia, Ignacio Fernandez Gaspar, Virginia Garavaglia, Markus Eberl, Ana Monteiro, Lindsay Kunkle and Prasad Viswanath, from various locations, including: Poland, the UK, Spain, Germany, Brazil and the USA!
How can remote diagnostics hep improve healthcare?
At the same time, greater healthcare reach is required to serve people in remote places or areas without modern medical facilities. Mobile technology offers a pre-existing infrastructure that provides easy and affordable means to reach people any time of day.
Remote diagnosis gathers and analyzes data, taking in a greater range of data—both an individual's past medical history, as well as correlated data from patients with similar conditions—than doctors usually have available to them. Utilizing AI supported technologies; remote diagnosis can guide doctors to make decisions faster and more accurately.
Our proposed technology will extend low-cost health care to the most remote areas and create structural efficiencies in determining the right care plans for patients. The advantages of remote diagnosis include:
- Smart, practical, functional and fast
- Empowers patients to self-monitor their conditions
- Bridges the gap between remote areas and hospitals, between the level of care in the field and in large medical centres
- Provides medical care to remote communities
- Helps to compensate for the shortage of suitably skilled healthcare professionals, giving time back to doctors that would otherwise be spent deciphering test results
- Guarantees confidentiality
- Delivers data-supported, accurate diagnoses
- Creates benchmarks – Health KPIs
How is technology creating the opportunity for remote diagnostics?
The latest developments of technology create a window for the adoption of remote diagnosis on a larger scale. Disruptive innovations enable on-going health data collection, as well as analysis and treatment recommendations.
Gathering health care data
The quantity of medical data has grown exponentially in recent years 5, and we are just beginning to identify the many ways we can seamlessly gather it.
The following are just some of the many early manifestations of technologies that collect data and will help to inform the future of remote diagnosis:
Wearables. Sensors tracking health data like blood pressure, temperature, heart rate and skin resistance are not new – however their miniaturization and connection to smartphone apps has generated a complete new segment of technology that could be worth $34 billion by 2020 according to CCS insight 6 .
Implantables. In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the first time approved a digital pill - a medication embedded with a sensor that can tell doctors whether, and when, patients take their medicine. They can also release specified doses of medicines at the right time.
Monitoring and prevention devices in hospitals. Philips is investing in different solutions such as continuous mobile monitoring for emergency patients while they are being moved around hospitals for tests and systems to be used by cardiac patients that prevent and warn caregivers hours before a potential heart attack 7 .
Image recognition and diagnostics. The start-up Butterfly Network 8 has developed a handheld 3D ultrasound tool that produces real time images and sends the data to a cloud service that identifies the characteristics and automates diagnosis.
Once health data has been gathered, the next step is to make sense of it and identify the right treatment or course of action—while this was once a step regulated to doctors only, technology is quickly taking over. Indeed, we are already seeing AI begin to aid in diagnostics:
- Decision on next steps when initiating a case. Babylon Health 9 is piloting a program in London where people contacting an emergency line are encouraged to consult a chat-bot instead of a human being. AI is used to assess the urgency.
- Combine data ready to be reviewed. Offering a diagnosis may involve gathering data from different sources and is often a time-consuming task for doctors. AI helps to synthesise the results and present the key data points to be reviewed faster by a patient's medical team.
- Support during the analysis. Algorithms can be built to analyse images to identify sets of pixels that suggest the development of cancer. Machines can review millions of images per day to support doctors in their judgement and create with data to define standards and spot odd results.
- Learning progressively. Algorithms improve as more images are fed into the database and doctors give feedback about the suggested diagnosis, so future diagnoses have the benefit of learning from all past diagnoses and results.
- Remote or rural areas where the population is scarcely distributed
- Countries with dysfunctional health systems or with limited medical resources
- Healthcare systems that are overcrowded
- Communities with too few doctors or healthcare professionals
Remote diagnosis can be applied to reduce healthcare costs, save time and, more important, save lives. In the U.S., costs of Professional Services (including doctors) account for 26% of healthcare expenses 10. Remote diagnosis will significantly reduce this expenditure and free-up resources for other investments to better public health (e.g., cures, preventative health initiatives, etc.).
With technology advancements like AI, machine learning and connected devices, to monitor and recognise health conditions, this field of telemedicine trends will continue to expand and evolve quickly. Remote diagnosis provides high value to customers and the optimises resources for health providers.
Healthcare companies that are seeking advantages over their competitors should be the pioneers to offer remote diagnosis. Governmental health agencies, in emerging markets especially, should investigate the potential use and feasibility for immediate implementation of remote diagnosis solutions.
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