Leaders in healthcare delivery and design, academics and technology gathered Oct. 25-26 at the 2012 Connected Health Symposium in Boston to drive home a theme of innovation, accountable care and patient engagement. The symposium showcased more than 100 speakers and networking events, all with the aim of discovering new tools that help connect technology, healthcare and consumers.
Shahid Shah, software analyst, consultant and author of The Healthcare IT Guy blog, led a demonstration of various vendors' products. "The overview of the conference was to focus on what it means to have connected technology and how that may affect behavior," Shah said in an interview with InformationWeek Healthcare. "The medical world is focused on diagnostics, and ultimately, there's a fashion of health that can only be affected by behavior change ... that's a good [fashion] to centralize, and that's what these technologies are designed to help with."
The second theme that became apparent at the symposium, said Shah, was technology that provides immediate feedback. "It was about the feedback loop, and how providing feedback requires behavior change that affects health and wellness," he said.
More than 300 companies applied to be part of the symposium, and of those that applied, 30 were selected to demonstrate their tools in three sessions. Shah said there were no rankings, but it was instead a chance to showcase innovations around connected health.
For example, one of the tools shown, UbiTru, a product from UbiCare, sends patients quick text messages and emails reminding them of care updates. The thinking with this tool, said Shah, is that more consistent and frequent reminders can drive more positive clinical outcomes. "Primarily, for texting and email, the objective is that healthcare improves when the interactions are more frequent and happen in a timely manner," he said. "So knowing when patients move from one area to another, [the messages can be] time based. If a patient is a diabetic, a reminder can be sent to check blood pressure, etc. It's the same theme around patient communication but in short bursts to see if the feedback loop can be improved."
Additional demos included robots that travel in place of a physician, which Shah said showcase a whole different side to telepresence solutions. On a different note, Irody's MyPillSense addresses issues with medication adherence and helps users identify which pills they should be taking, and also when and how much to take.
Click through to see more connected health tools that are driving patient engagement and more immediate feedback between consumers and physicians.