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  • Lloyd Price

My 2019 Digital Health Predictions

2019 Digital Health Prediction 1 : Apple, Amazon, Google or Microsoft acquires electronic record systems provider Epic (Epic Systems Corporation) to gain a foothold in Healthcare. The acquisition will effectivey be a "trojan horse" unlocking access to data, clinical technology, mobile technology, paying clients and research.

Epic's market focus is large healthcare organizations and academic medical centers. Apple, Amazon, Google or Microsoft all need to combine the latest academic and medical research with massive patient/clinical data sets and their proprietary machine learning, deep learning and neural network algorithmns.

In Q1 2017 Epic launched a new program App Orchard – serving physician practices and hospitals to help them build customized apps. The program also supports independent mobile app developers who target providers and patients.

App Orchard, for its part, lets developers use a FHIR-based API to access an Epic development sandbox. This will allow the developers to address issues in connecting their apps to the Epic EMR. Previously, Epic wouldn’t let mobile app developers connect to its EMR until a customer requested permission on their behalf.

In addition to providing the API, App Orchard will also serve as an online marketplace along the lines of Google Play or the Apple app store. However, end users won’t be able to download the app for their own use — only software developers and vendors will be able to do that. The idea is that these developers will create the apps on contract to customers.

2019 Digital Health Prediction 2 : Voice technology will be the first step to personalising pharma. By the end of the year we will see the use of Virtual Assistants by patients to help interact with their health data and "transact" via voice technology to order repeat prescriptions, pain management and medication requests. Google Voice, Siri, Cortana and Alexa will finally have connectivity to raw and comprehensive up-to-date data.

Voice technology also has massive potential for clinical drug trials.

Orbita, a provider of voice-first software for connected home healthcare and ERT, a global data and technology company focused on minimising risk in clinical trials, have recently put their heads together to research the potential of voice assistants to improve patient engagement and optimise data collection in the clinical trial setting.

Their solution enables patients to use the power of voice to complete interactive surveys, verify completion of care tasks and report health concerns while clinical trials investigators and coordinators can use built-in analytics to track user engagement and respond to user input.

2019 Digital Health Prediction 3 : Healthbots will increasingly focus on solving automation problems in Healthcare, such as workflow data entry and fraud detection. Healthbots will become the new generation of chatbots, an additional layer on-top of the previously established eco-system of messaging apps.

Healthbots will start to take over systematic and repetitive tasks like booking appointments, checking patients’ IDs, checking insurance information and coverage, asking for medical history and drug intake, and giving information about side effects and drug interactions.

( Source : Bots in healthcare: interview with Thomas Schulz, Organiser of Botscamp

2019 Digital Health Prediction 4 : Mobile phone manufacturers will follow Apple's lead on connecting to hospital EHRs using FHIR. Samsung, HTC, Nokia, Motorola will roll out native apps that can use FHIR to pull hospital and medical practice data onto their devices.

In September 2016, Google Acquired Apigee, the leading provider of FHIR based API’s effectively stealing a march on its competitors, however we are yet to see the application of Apigee's technology in connecting hospital EHRs with Android (mobile operating system developed by Google) using FHIR.

After years of ambition, hype and hope .... 2018 will be the year, digital health is on FHIR :)

2019 Digital Health Prediction 5 : We will start to see the growth and adoption of "Persuasive Architecture" and 'Captology' in Digital Health - websites, mobile platforms and applications in healthcare becoming far more persuasive.

Persuasive Architecture refers to a website, mobile platform or application that has been designed and developed in such a way as to convince users to take action.

Captology is the study of computers as persuasive technologies. This includes the design, research, ethics and analysis of interactive computing products (computers, mobile phones, websites, wireless technologies, mobile applications, video games, etc.) created for the purpose of changing people’s attitudes or behaviors.

One challenge of mobile health applications for example is the capability to establish long-lasting behaviour change among patients and their respective health care provider, or both.

Early research by academics Mustafa Moosa Qasim, Mazida Ahmad and Mazni Omar in their paper "Analyzing Persuasive Mobile Healthcare Architecture Using Systematic Process Design" are leading the way in understanding how Persuasive Architecture can result in better patient outcomes.

'More broadly within the healthcare domain, the prospective value of persuasive mobile technology is seen in changing individuals by incorporating persuasion features into the design of mobile phone technology. In this regard, most of the researchers have paid attention to develop persuasive applications, but they yet failed to provide guidance on how the persuasive guidelines can be implemented, in particular in software architecture."

The Stanford Persuasive Tech Lab performs research into computers as persuasive technologies and its ethical use. It is part of H-STAR, the Human Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute at Stanford University.

The study of persuasive technology began at Stanford in the 1990s. As a Stanford doctoral student (1993-1997), BJ Fogg used methods from experimental psychology to demonstrate that computers can change people’s thoughts and behaviors in predictable ways. His thesis was entitled “Charismatic Computers.” BJ Fogg went on to found the lab in 1998.

Persuasive technology is now a global area of research and design. In the early days, the lab was doing research, conducting classes, and organizing events at Stanford.

Author - Lloyd Price

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