Patients are the Healthcare consumers and thus, they expect and demand to be treated as such. Therefore, they are the major force behind technology used to serve them.
EMR, ( Electronic Medical Records ) can actually cause so many problems if not implemented properly, for example, it can slow down rather than facilitate the work flow., frustrate staff and providers, and may end up doing ( computer/Technology -care) rather than patient care!
Successful technology thus has to be guided by input from those who actually delivering the care ( the doctors).
There is an expected failure when trying to implement new system having complete disconnect between Technology and Medicine. It is certainly easy to get lost with ( Big Data) and thus better to focus on most practical and clinically relevant data to track down, analyze and ultimately incorporate into patient care to be safe, effective and reliable in a standardized fashion. For example, it is clinically useful to have an EKG ( Electrocardiogram) tracing to assess Heart Rhythm, then tracing get collected electronically and analyzed to be used in a meaningful way to mange the patients accordingly. For example, Pedometers used to tract the number of steps walked and assess fitness level, or having a wrist band with unique Bar Codes to enable uploading patient data into the patient health records via WI-Fi access.
Other useful use is the remote access for consults or follow up and management of various illnesses as well as caring for chronic diseases or immobile patients. Tele Medicine would be a great tool connecting patients with their trusted providers on 24/7 basis.The critical voice of the physicians to be heard as they give their important input in shaping Digital Medicine and its future success in improving access to effective healthcare delivery. They have to be a part of the conversation and decision making alongside the traditional players including Insurance and Pharmaceutical companies.
There is a real demand for mobile healthcare applications ( to manage chronic diseases) with efficiency having a human being as a back up helping patients when a digital service fails to provide patient specific needs. Digital Medicine can help not only the immediate treatment but can predict and prevent various diseases via root-cause analysis. For example, high salt intake is associated with elevated blood pressure especially in the African American population as they seem to be more salt-sensitive. Another example of regular intake of NSAIDs , Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs such as Motrin, Advil, Naproxyn , Aleve and others will certainly lead to Kidney damage, Gastritis, bleeding Ulcer, Congestive Heart Failure, salt and water retention, simply avoiding the regular intake of these NSAIDs would prevent all these costly and devastating complications. Similarly, regular intake of steroids would cause Diabetes, salt and water retention, delayed wound healing, osteoporosis resulting in bone fractures and depressed immune system leading to repeated infections. Avascular necrosis of the head of the femur which is a serious complication in those on chronic steroid therapy resulting in collapse of the head of the femur.
So, Digital Medicine would be advantageous in answering simple , non emergent questions through customer service center, online portal, chat window, make online appointment, or make a use of a mobile APP. So, the role of Digital Medicine is to improve patient access, customer service, compliance and outcome, but never intended to replace your doctor. We have seen what happened with attempted driver-less cars, it failed big times!