HealthCamp Boston wall

I spent yesterday at HealthCamp Boston at the Microsoft NERD. Here are what I felt were the top three discussions I participated in:

  1. How can patients be engaged between office visits?

    This discussion revolved around what tools can help patients be involved with their care during the majority of the time they are not in the clinic. Self-tracking, wearable devices, telemedicine, and social media support tools were all offered up as solutions, but those are hardly new. Perhaps what was new was the recognition that there must to be value delivered to the patient in the form of feedback, support and better care, as well as the conversation about utility to providers.

  1. How do wearables fit into the equation? 

    With all the excitement about wearables and sensors improving the ease with which health data can be monitored, the bigger question is how all that data can be made actionable. Unless that information is contextualized to be relevant to the specific health concerns of a patient, then it really has little immediate value. Knowing my daily number of steps isn’t useful to my provider, but knowing my general levels of activity before and after a procedure can help my provider and I see how I am tracking towards full recovery so that we can alter my treatment plan accordingly. There is an opportunity for services that can use data from wearables but put them into the context of a patient’s care plan.

  1. How does innovation get into the healthcare system? 

    There was a great deal of hand-wringing over the conundrum of getting new, untested ideas into the hands of providers so that products could be iterated and proven at the seed stage. In our experience at Klio so far, we’ve seen that it is vital to get feedback and early adoption from providers who can conduct early pilots to gather initial data and validate the value proposition. Of course, none of this is easy or fast but the good news is that provider organizations are starting to recognize the importance of trying new technology, making it ever easier to collaborate with providers.

My key takeaway from the day was that none of the discussion topics were new (I imagine that in previous HealthCamps, participants also spoke about care coordination, patient engagement, and the perils of innovating in healthcare), but what was different about the discussion yesterday from similar conversations I had 12-18 months ago was the fact that the providers at the table  recognized that the new services and tools may actually help them improve patient engagement and outcomes. This shift is what is really going to change the speed at which new solutions can be tested in the clinic. I'm looking forward to seeing how things move over the next year. See you all at HealthCamp Boston 2015!