At the Health 2.0: Digital Technology in Clinical Care conference held last month, speakers offered strategies for using technology to expand health care from clinical settings to a 24/7 partnership enterprise. “We must take health care out of the office and make it a continuous focus in the lives of patients,” said Dr. Joseph Kvedar, Director of the Center for Connected Health in Boston .
Conference sessions addressed a range of topics including data privacy and security, health disparities, new evaluation strategies, and apps and texting programs adapted to individuals. Presenters were from the Center for Democracy and Technology , RTI International , New York State’s Office of Health Information Technology Transformation, IBM, Daktari Diagnostics, Inc., and universities: Harvard Medical School, UC-Santa Barbara, MIT, Columbia, Cornell, NYU, Johns Hopkins, and Northeastern. Sponsored by the New York Department of Health AIDS Institute, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation , and the New York Academy of Sciences , and moderated by AIDS.gov, the full-day conference helped HIV clinicians and others understand how digital technology is changing the roles of providers and patients.
With new patient-controlled health monitoring technology, soon a lot of data will come from patients. “We don’t do well at chronic disease management because we use a model for acute disease,” said Dr. John Moore of MIT’s New Media Medicine group. He outlined an “apprenticeship” model of health care in which patients become more attuned to maintaining health. Patients and providers make decisions together but patients will be the drivers and own their own data.
Digital technology also permits instant research and “just in time” clinical interventions. “When mobile apps can learn from users and adapt in real time, it will be possible to develop ‘cradle to grave’ mobile programs that can manage co-morbidities,” said Iana Simeonov of UCSF mHealth Insights & Innovation.
Currently there are lots of data that can be used to inform clinical decision-making, but making sense of that data can be overwhelming. Artificial intelligence promises to be of enormous help with diagnostic and treatment decisions. “700,000 medical articles are published each year. Watson (a supercomputer that reads natural language) can read 200 million pages of text in three seconds,” noted Dr. Martin Kohn, Chief Medical Scientist for Care Delivery Systems at IBM . IBM, the inventor of Watson, is working with the Cleveland Clinic to develop a clinical decision support tool that interprets “information to help providers make informed decisions based on the most current literature and research.”
Other speakers at the conference included:
- Dr. Debra A. Lieberman of UC-Santa Barbara and Director of Health Games Research , a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, who reviewed the value and growing use of games for many health issues and populations.
- Dr. William Rodriguez, who explained that since portable, low cost, point of care devices can give test results like CD4 count, viral load, TB status, and other data in minutes, the future will focus not on testing in health settings but on data transmission and analysis.
- Others who demonstrated how virtual patients can help educate medical students and how virtual caregivers can help people monitor their health.
AIDS.gov also conducted a Social Media Lounge for participants to drop in and learn more about using social media in their HIV programs. While at the conference we also engaged the participants in an activity where they used their own words to describe the power of digital health. Watch this video to learn what digital health can do for the HIV community:
More information, including the conference agenda, abstracts, and slides and audio, is available at: