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Information Technology


“Wait—are you playing my video game?!?”


Billy was shocked at the prospect of sharing his game console with his grandmother, Maria. In fact, Maria was monopolizing the gaming system—but not to shoot space aliens. Instead, she was using it to interact with her healthcare team from her living room couch.


The 71-year-old grandmother with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was receiving real-time advice from her healthcare provider on how to use her new inhaler. Maria then slipped on her Bluetooth-enabled pulse oximeter to measure the saturation level of oxygen in her blood and instantly transmitted the results to her doctor, who communicated his satisfaction. The whole experience took only minutes, and Maria was back to her routine without the time and expense associated with a visit to the clinic.


By fusing innovative digital solutions with existing healthcare knowledge, communications and high-tech companies


and the health industry could, in the


not-too-distant future, make this kind of virtual healthcare interaction a reality in the United States by developing cost-effective ways to engage patients and deliver care virtually anytime, anywhere. For their part, leading communications and high-tech players are offering a growing range of potentially groundbreaking solutions that address some of the healthcare industry’s greatest challenges. By targeting patients and providers with cloud-based application portfolios as well as with breakthroughs in using infrastructure in healthcare, the industry seeks to cut medical costs while improving delivery quality and patient outcomes.


While the terrain remains largely uncharted, the prospects for healthcare and high-tech companies to unlock massive amounts of clinical value are significant.


Contrasts


While the playing field is already large and rapidly growing larger, communications and high-tech firms in the United States are pursuing several different application groups that promise major payoffs when fully implemented.


Virtual health. Providers are already combining video technologies with virtual clinician services in a trend that continues to gain acceptance worldwide. Patients can connect with doctors via smart devices for a video chat or virtual visit, in the process entering information about their condition that special apps immediately transmit to the care provider.


Clinical triage tools analyze the information to determine if the condition warrants an online visit. If it does, a physician can diagnose the problem, recommend treatment and prescribe medication, immediately sending the script to the patient’s pharmacy. Virtual health technologies offer patients greater convenience by providing timely access to care at home, in the workplace or virtually anywhere else.


Healthcare in the cloud. Health organizations eager to stay current with the pace of digital change need access to the latest infrastructure, platform and software solutions. In many cases, this requires a “pay-as-you-go” approach involving IT delivery models where the hardware and software reside remotely on the cloud.


As a result, healthcare providers can deploy their own solutions more rapidly or purchase third-party software or end-to-end capabilities on demand, realizing clinical value quickly and efficiently. Organizations can access these capabilities from their own private clouds or extend their existing infrastructure to the cloud in a modular approach.


Healthcare providers can deploy their own solutions more rapidly or purchase third-party software or end-to-end capabilities on demand


Virtual health display. In a joint project, Philips Digital Accelerator Lab and Accenture Technology Labs are testing a Google Glass virtual display system, which is designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness


procedures. The system displays the patient’s vital signs through a head-mounted unit, giving


the


of surgical surgeon


hands-free access to critical clinical information without having to look away from the procedure.


This technology could also be used when the patient and physician are not in close proximity, potentially providing the doctor with important patient information at the corner of his or her eye.


13


INSIGHT ON


HOSPITAL & HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT VOL. 3 ISSUE 3 August 2014


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