Imaginal Labs Blog

Is there a Doctor in my Phone?

Reflections on the future of telehealthcare

Remember when you had to make an appointment with the computer scientist at the University to bring your punch cards to the Mainframe computer there in order to get computing done? Now you don’t have to leave your bed to upload, download, troubleshoot and even have your genome decoded. But we still have to beg for an appointment with the doctor, drag ourselves out of bed when we are sick, be shuttled around to get various tests over the ensuing weeks and not be able to get your own test results because they get sent to your doctor which requires another appointment…

Welcome to the reality and the promise of telehealthcare where the Doctor’s Office is the Mainframe of the Decade.

I recently key noted at the inaugural Telehealthcare Leaders Forum held in Newport, RI and sponsored by Tunstall America, a leading global creator of telehealth solutions. The footprint of telehealthcare continues to expand because of the exponential impact of Big Data, the Internet of Things, smartphone utilization, the super consumers’ demand for better and faster healthcare insight and service, the forecasted shortage of doctors and the incredible pressure felt by individuals, payers, providers and governments to contain HC costs.

Think about this – -I would venture to say that there has never been so much pent up demand for improvements in any system by Main Street, Wall Street and Washington then currently exists to improve the entire HC system – – how HC is produced, delivered, consumed and paid for. And the technology is already in place, at our fingertips, to make a substantial and transformational change.

There is not a panacea for change because systems evolve organically based on multiple factors and we know from the decades long battles over health care legislation that money, politics and policies are a three-dimensional chess game and the pricing incentives that help make markets honest will be a long time coming.

However, as pointed out by another keynoter at the Forum, Dr. Jason Hwang the co-author with Dr. Clay Christianson of “The Innovators Prescription”, the price of computing did not require legislation to drive disruptive innovation of the mainframe business.

However, as pointed out by another keynoter at the Forum, Dr. Jason Hwang the co-author with Dr. Clay Christianson of “The Innovators Prescription”, the price of computing did not require legislation to drive disruptive innovation of the mainframe business.

The promise of telehealth care (e.g. home monitoring, smart clothing, remote telemedicine, hand-held hospitals, smartphone ECGs etc) will also be driven by behavioral change at many levels:

HC savvy consumers, who have learned how to use technology to make their lives easier by bringing the expertise to them through digital innovations- – fast, reliable, dependable, assessable and affordable with online on demand banking, shopping, learning, computing, publishing. etc.

Company behavior, otherwise know as a Business Model, as traditional and non-traditional companies are experimenting with the components of telehealth to finally be in the patient outcomes business, instead of the product and device business.

Leadership behavior as more professionals and executives recognize that it is a personal (and corporate) competitive advantage to become digitally fluent in order to enhance the way they lead, manage, communicate and innovate.

This will be a great win for patients, companies and society.

Categories: Carolyn Buck Luce and Health Care.