The Future of Health Care?


Applications for sports and fitness activities were predicted to rise by 63% from 2012 – 2017. With the abundance of fitness and health applications currently available, we have become increasingly health conscious; we can now track our kilometres run, our steps walked, our current heart rate as well as our daily calorie consumption. However, this sheer amount of data is spread out over different platforms and makes us sometimes forget what is really important. In order to change this, the Radboud UMC (Dutch Hospital in Nijmegen) is planning on fully centring around the customer/patient within the health care process. Together with Philips and cloud-software provider Salesforce they have invented a combination of a personal health file and an online community which serves as an connectivity platform for medical equipment, wearables and applications. This electronic platform is called Hereismydata.

The platform Hereismydata focuses on data such as blood pressure and heart rate, but is also able to incorporate weight or daily exercise. Hereismydata is not necessary only for people who have a condition, but is also for people who are just eager to keep track of their own medical data. Individuals themselves can decide who they give access to their data. In most cases this is a family member and a general practitioner. Hereismydata can serve as a preventive measure; if general practitioners or doctors see that your heart rate and blood pressure are suddenly rising, a patient can be contacted to clarify this sudden increase. In this case fatalities can be prevented rather than treated once they have occurred.

The adoption of a platform such as Hereismydata causes a certain paradigm shift. Individuals will no longer be just patients, they will become co-creators of their personal health file to which they have access themselves. Nonetheless, in order to make Hereismydata a success, both sides of the market need to be leveraged. Both doctors/ professional caretakers and individual will need to join the platform to realize its full potential. If, however, hospitals are willing to connect and work with the platform, individuals can truly benefit of their own generated data.

It is predicted that in 2040 the care needs in the Netherlands will double, while the amount of caretakers will diminish. A nationwide electronic patient database could be start to overcome these dreary prospects. By empowering the patient and by giving both the patient and the doctor access to health data, I believe a lot of healthcare costs can be prevented. The scope of this project and the privacy issues could, however, be limiting factors with regard to the implementation of the platform. On the bright side, Arthur Govaert, CIO at Radboud UMC commented that Hereismydata is currently being piloted on a handful of patients in the Netherlands. Will it be a matter of time before everyone has its own electronic patient database?

Sources

http://www.emerce.nl/wire/timmies-the-innovation-awards-2015-anwb-radboud-umc

http://press.ihs.com/press-release/design-supply-chain/sports-and-fitness-app-market-expand-more-60-percent-five-years

http://www.smarthealth.nl/2013/07/24/hereismydata-het-nieuw-elektronisch-patienten-dossier-epd/

Interview with Arthur Govaert (CIO Radboud UMC) on the 10th of March, 2015

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