Buckle up because digital health is speeding up innovation and transforming healthcare delivery. Acceleration of innovation is at hand. Clinical trials will be expedited and medical knowledge will grow exponentially. The inevitability of value-based care and provider concerns are driving efforts to make the mountains of health data useful. Trusted companies will enjoy expedited device approval with a new FDA digital health review process modeled after the TSA fast lane.
Digital Health Beginning to Live up to the Hype?
When venture capitalist, Mary Meeker talks about internet trends, everyone listens. She presented her annual Internet Trends report at the invitation only Code Conference in California (watch it here). This year, her massive slide deck highlighted healthcare for the first time. Thirty-one of her 355 slides focus on healthcare and are titled ‘Healthcare @ Digital Inflection Point’ Her prediction is that the ever increasing amount of health and health related data from wearables, lab tests, genome sequencing, and EHRs will accelerate clinical trials, publications, and medical knowledge. Further she notes that consumer adoption of digital tools will spur faster innovation that will accompany a rapidly changing face for healthcare delivery.
Meeker says that the average hospital, holds 50 petabytes of healthcare data that is growing at a rate of 48% per year. However, Privacy concerns, are a persistent roadblock to analyzing data. Roughly half of consumers say they’d trust Google or Microsoft with their data. Fewer trust Amazon and Facebook.
How Goes the Healthcare Industry’s Transition from Fee-For-Service to Value-Based Care (VBC)?
While healthcare may have plenty of data, a report from Quest Diagnostics found differing opinions on how useful that data really is in terms of supporting the shift to value-based care. While most physicians and payers agree that the shift from fee-for-service to value-based reimbursement is inevitable, they disagree on progress toward that end.
The study released at America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) institute and Expo, reports that providers are less convinced that they have the tools needed to support value-based care. The gap between physicians and healthcare executives on VBC progress is greater still. Most executives believe that EHRs provide everything physicians need but doctors are not seeing data that facilitates patient-specific insight at the point of care. The problem is not that the data is not there, it’s that it doesn’t support actionable insights at the point of care yet. Some 70% of physicians surveyed don’t see a clear link between their EHRs and better patient outcomes. The study called for providers and payers to co-invest in health IT to accelerate VBC progress.
What will Drive Digital Innovation and Adoption in Healthcare?
So, what will fuel improvements in healthcare’s use of all its data? According to Accenture there are five trends currently driving digital tech innovation and adoption in healthcare. Their report, also released at AHIP outlines the following key trends:
- The use of artificial intelligence to gather patient information and to interact with patients;
- Partnerships with outside businesses on digital ecosystems;
- Increased use of ‘beyond the walls’, on-demand, online staff;
- Improving technology so that it taps into what motivates human behavior; and
- Health organizations entering ‘entirely new’ digital industries.
FDA Writing the Rules that Will Rule Machine Learning
The computer code and machine learning behind new clinical decision support apps has challenged standard FDA review mechanisms. Because they are always learning, they change products on the fly. Much to the delight of the medical device industry, the FDA is ramping up its ability to review medical devices via its new digital health unit. Those on the project will develop software and tech to assist with premarket submissions or devices. Speaking at MedCon in Cincinnati, the FDA Associate Director for Digital Health Bakul Patel said the office’s current focus is on ‘what clinical validation looks like for software.’ He envisions a review process similar to TSA where trusted companies could ‘wear their shoes through the metal detector’ while new companies and those with sketchy track records are more carefully scrutinized.
Companies that look to the horizon and better understand what is happening will be able to create sustainable innovation and competitive advantage. The world is more and more connected with each day – Download the White Paper