The BMA is claiming at their annual conference today that GPs are struggling with workload. Once upon a time, everyone thought digital health alone was one answer to reduce that workload. However until we have better algorithms to sort the signal from the noise, many doctors claim that more data is contributing to the problem rather than solving it. So how to get patients to use digital health data to take more responsibility for their own health? In technical terms, how to raise their patient activation measure (PAM)?
One way of improving the effectiveness of digital health might therefore be to add incentives to become more activated; insurance could provide such an incentive. The Royal Society of Medicine has therefore put together, as a ‘first’, an event on 1st June to explore this combination (disclosure: organised by this editor).
The speakers have been chosen to cover the full spectrum of participants in this field. Beginning with the software, Caty Ebel Bitoun from the Netherlands will describe software she builds to support health insurers, and Justin Lawler from We Savvy in Ireland will describe how that software can be configured to deliver maximum benefit.
Guy Gross will explain how careful segmentation of insured populations by PAMs can substantially reduce (more…)
As Prof Mike Short pointed out recently, 2016 is the tenth anniversary of the start of the Whole System Demonstrator (WSD) programme that in retrospect, because of poor trial design, probably slowed the uptake of digital health in the UK more than any other single action. It seems appropriate therefore to look at how telehealth* has fared over that period, and perhaps even more importantly, is poised for the next ten years.
The mistakes of the WSD are well documented (eg here, here & here) – suffice it to say that it proved beyond all reasonable doubt, at least to this editor, that unlike medicine-based interventions, which seem less sensitive to their care pathway, digital health delivers most of its benefit through enabling a different, patient-centred care delivery, so every digital health intervention needs to be evaluated holistically, and in its own care pathway. Sadly over the ten years, much of the academic work looking at the benefits of telehealth has continued to evaluate the technology in the time-honoured way that medicines have been evaluated, with predictably largely equivocal results.
Those of us who have delivered telehealth projects though have a sense of disconnect as, time and again, a focused implementation – not a pilot – in which the staff delivering the service understand that it will be a permanent change for which they need radically to change the way they deliver care, yields huge returns on investments through savings typically in the 50-90% region. (more…)
Insurer Aviva’s latest Health Check study headlined the following findings about UK adults’ growing preference for digital health options, including a growth in acceptance of wearable monitors:
- 47% are willing to be diagnosed digitally instead of face-to-face with their GP
- 67% would use wearable technology to monitor long-term medical conditions such as diabetes or heart failure–especially those who are overweight (68%) or obese (71%)
- The majority already using healthcare technology report improved health–63% of all age groups using a physical activity monitor say it has improved their health, rising to 66% of those with a heart rate monitor
- Three in five (60%) non-users would use a physical activity or heart rate monitor in the future, while 52% would consider using a sleep pattern monitor
- 55% agree the NHS should provide free technology to help people play an active role in improving their health
- Younger age groups are most open (of course) to use of monitoring. 15% of those 25-34 use a physical activity monitor (compared to 8% overall) while 9% of 25-34s use a sleep pattern monitor (vs. 4% overall)
Aviva has an interest in digital health through its recently established customer partnership with babylon‘s UK-based telemedicine app [TTA 26 May]. The study was conducted by ICM Research for Aviva UK Health in August 2015. Respondents were invited from ICM’s online panel and 2,004 interviews were conducted amongst a nationally representative sample of the UK adult population.
The full study is available here to our Readers. Aviva release.
This article in the Telegraph last week has stimulated Prof Mike Short to ask whether if driverless cars can eliminate bad driving and so reduce insurance costs, mHealth can do the same for those with either or both life assurance and health insurance.
There’s little doubt in the mHealth community that technology will cut costs, and already there are (at least a few) solid examples. The big question is, can the insurance world – both life assurers & health insurers – be convinced? We know in the UK for example that BUPA is working hard on mHealth solutions, and that Aviva has tied up with Babylon (who recently won the recent AXA ‘Most Innovative Provider’ award)…and doubtless there is much more too. Obviously the situation is much further ahead in countries such as the US where health insurance is the norm.
Mike suggests that we run an insurance led event to look at techniques of prevention as well as cure/care. This could have an interesting policy dimension if the health insurers were willing to think about new measurement policies and indicate where they wish to go with data driven policies – eHealth as an opener for new policies and forms of funding? As he says, apps/wearables/connectivity are just enablers to this wider story, for which the insurance systems and their objectives need to be understood too.
DHACA is happy to participate, broker or organise such an event – we’d really welcome view from readers though first – would you be interested in taking an active part in what might just change the face of health insurance in the UK, and promote mHealth at the same time?
The Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI) is looking for companies to share the British Pavilion at the CMEF trade show from 15th – 18th May 2015 in Shanghai, China. It is apparently the the leading Healthcare trade show in China and is now the largest Medical Equipment exhibition in the Asia Pacific region attracting over 60,000 visitors. Details here.
Still need to see some more predictions for 2015? – try these 12 for telecoms, which does include the odd interesting nod towards subjects we cover, including interconnection of wearables and connected homes.
Prompted by our mention of V-Connect in our review of our 2014 predictions, MD Adam Hoare has pointed out that his company also won the Medilink ‘partnership with the NHS’ award for their renal project with The Lister Hospital in Stevenage. Congratulations!
Accenture has produced an interesting (more…)