Mediaplanet: How is digital technology putting health care decisions in the hands of patients?

Dianne Carmichael: Health care has long been a closed system with silos of data locked away in filing cabinets or doctor’s offices. Today, sensors, genomics, wearables, and Bluetooth-enabled devices are enabling health consumers to take charge of their care. The future will see patients engaging with a connected platform that effectively enables data sharing in meaningful ways across the spectrum of care — including remote heath monitoring, electronic health records, coaching, and virtual visits. It will co-ordinate and engage the health ecosystem for the benefit of the patient. This shift is transformative from today’s prevailing paternalistic attitude that father knows best.

MP: What’s the role of start-ups in this?

DC: Start-ups and the digital revolution are the driving force behind patient-centric health. Take Ask The Doctor, a secure interface that allows patients to ask health care related questions, or Cloud DX, a company making sci-fi a reality with a device that can identify up to seven respiratory diseases based solely on the sound of a patient’s cough. Many ventures also work with health care providers to improve the patient experience. Shift Health’s TickiT app allows patients to share their own information, bringing the patient voice to the clinic, and HQIC offers secure messaging and video consults between patients and providers.

MP: What’s next?

DC: Wearables are just a taste of what’s to come. Nanotechnologies, AI, robotics, and ingestibles are among the many innovations that will completely transform the health system — shifting the balance of power into the hands of patients themselves.