5 Digital Health Trends for 2017

March 28th, 2017


Skip Fleshman explores the digital health trends that he foresees occurring over 2017.  He describes digital interventions, improved provider workflow solutions, improved data integration and analytics, more of a focus on behavioral health, and new models of insurance companies as the primary drivers of change in digital health.  It is difficult to argue with his forecast; technology aware physicians have been clamoring for these changes for years.  The question that investors, health care experts and physicians must determine is: which is most likely to occur and when?  Which changes are plausible?  Which, with good intentions, will be botched and set back even further?

Looking forward the obvious comparison in “medical technology” developments was the government mandated transition to electronic medical records.  Although the jury is still out on the success of the EMR program, there is consensus that it never accomplished its’ stated goal of unifying health data.  At minimum it has made physicians transition from the archaic practice of hand written notes.  However, there is no clear driver for any of the aforementioned trends;  other, of course, than the need for better and more efficient patient care.  So which societal driving power will prove most forceful?  Will it be the desire of patients to have their care managed by an app on their smart phone?  The desire of large health systems or insurance companies to find efficiency?  The need for integrated, or at least relatively compatible medical technology?  Only time will tell…

At MySpecialistMD we are placing our bet that the first trend will be the quickest to fruition.  Already there are players utilizing computer learning and artificial intelligence in disease modifying manners.  The assumption is that medicine will change dramatically – for the better – in the next 5-10 years.  Gone will be the era of intermittent doctor visits to control chronic diseases and phone calls with partial information as a bridge between them.  Rather, an intelligent patient management portal will help patients navigate their illness, informing physicians in real time about adverse or non-compliance events, and allowing intermittent physician visits to focus on building relationships with patients, providing guidance and counseling, and fine-tuning care plans.  Our platform similarly is powered by AI to provide personalized medical care tailored to each individual patient, predictive analytics to serve as an early warning for clinical deterioration and alerts to prevent gaps in care and compliance failures. But, again, only time will tell…