How the future of healthcare will be shaped

Sloan Gaon

Fierce Healthcare

July 22, 2019

You’ve had a tennis accident and suspect the worst: a broken leg.

A telemedicine doctor-on-demand confirms your fears: You need to see a physician in person.  From your phone, you nab an Uber Health ride (HIPAA-safe, affordable and reliable) covered by your CVS/Aetna health plan.

At a state-of-the-art medical mall, the wait for an X-ray is short. You barely have time to pull out your iPhone and find your secure MyChart health records—data that are owned by you, but protected by blockchain.

Like clockwork, the radiologist’s report appears in the app, an orthopedist casts your leg and you schedule both your follow-up and physical therapy appointments then and there.

Sound like the faraway future? Think again. Healthcare is on the cusp of a technology revolution. Technology is primed to disrupt healthcare more explosively than it has any other industry.

Today, our healthcare system is broken and plagued with symptoms like fragmentation, prohibitive costs, bureaucratic red tape and barriers to access. Tomorrow, technology will drive innovation, automation, transparency and efficiency, rendering the current healthcare landscape unrecognizable. As technology garners healthcare’s gold seal of approval, its effects will upend the industry, shrinking costs and improving outcomes. Here are my health technology predictions for tomorrow and beyond.

Blockchain

The future of health is blockchain, and Americans have an online health profile that is accessible only to them and has a blockchain platform for distributing, monitoring and sharing information. Today, we’re confused about where an individual’s health profile should live and how to maintain and verify it. Tomorrow, everyone has an accessible health profile and operates at the center of its value supply, in control of their data and its monetization.

Blockchain, which digitally links records assuring data authenticity and trackability, has the power to transform how the healthcare industry delivers care—and how individuals access it—on a global scale. Traditional blockchain models may only demonstrate incremental value now, but the potential impact of blockchain for the global healthcare industry is enormous, opening new opportunities for medical research and advancement, patient empowerment and engagement, and increased global healthcare access and equality.

The rise of the medical mall

The shopping mall has been on life support for years. Malls across the country have been demolished or vacated entirely, a casualty of the economic recession and consumer migration to online shopping. Only 1,100 U.S. malls remain, and many will shutter in the near future.

But thanks to the medical industry, the shopping mall still has life. Malls are being resurrected as healthcare centers with fitness facilities, healthy eating options and doctor’s offices. The coupling makes sense. Malls need tenants. Medical centers need affordable space. At the Life Time Center in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, once occupied by the Atrium Mall, you can book a manicure at the spa, a spin class at the boutique gym or a bone density scan at the medical center.

Urgent care centers have been appearing in malls for years now, but the medical mall movement is hitting critical mass. Doctors and hospitals are expanding their offerings and require accessible locations convenient to patients and with ample parking space. As department stores disappear and medical malls take hold, expect to see them offer clinical trials, infusions and medical services for newly diagnosed patients.

Uber Health is the penicillin of the technology era.

Access is the new antibiotic, and Uber Health—and it’s HIPAA-compliant technology—is one of the top innovations in healthcare to date. Penicillin cures countless infections, and Uber’s innovation solves for healthcare provider and patient needs alike. Not only does Uber Health bring patients to their appointments, it eliminates the need for a “ride home.” Now, those without support networks are able to have their health needs met. It enables clinics, hospitals and rehab centers to easily assign rides for patients and clients from a centralized dashboard. The rider doesn’t need the Uber app or even a smartphone.

The model is cost-efficient and reliable. Patients find it affordable and easy to use. Medical providers can rest assured knowing unescorted patients will be chauffeured home safely with vetted drivers and their private medical data secure. It makes transportation accessible to the masses and eliminates the issues caused by transportation: no-show appointments, late arrivals and scheduling inefficiency.

With medical transportation, Uber Health will reroute the course of healthcare in a way we haven’t seen since the antibiotic.

While healthcare regulation is necessary, it should only serve to elevate the patient experience, not hinder it with slow, wasteful, expensive and ineffective systems and at the cost of innovation.

Technology will transform today’s expensive and ineffectual health delivery methods into tomorrow’s radically personalized, affordable, efficient ones, with innovation benefiting patients, providers, healthcare companies and insurers alike.

Sloan Gaon is the CEO of PulsePoint.

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