is the future of healthcare an app?

13th November 2014

Can you imagine walking into a doctor’s surgery and instead of the doctor asking, “How are you?” it is now common practice for you, the patient, to ask, “Doctor, how am I?” It’s the wrong way around isn’t it? Or is it?

The growing impact of technology on the healthcare system, while still in its infancy, could revolutionise our health and wellbeing by changing the way we currently monitor our health and seek remedies.

So, what is the potential of all this new health data? 

A doctor’s job is to diagnose, treat or prevent disease or illness. Having this data changes this process. Doctors no longer have to try to get information out of patients to do guess work about them, but rather, doctors have real information to find the real problem. Let’s face it, as humans, we tend to hide information or not tell the truth at times. This is particularly true if a doctor asks you how much you drink. Do you give an honest answer? Usually we try to give what we think is the best answer as we don’t want to be perceived negatively. At Seymourpowell, we know this from our design and ethnographic research; we prefer to observe people to get real human behavioural insight rather than simply ask them questions.

What does this data aggregation and accessibility mean for people?

With all of this data being accessible along with the ability to monitor our health, people will be able to play a bigger role in their own health and wellbeing. In addition, an increase in data and accessibility could increase the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare systems without increasing the costs. If the NHS was a digital service, instead of booking an appointment to see a GP who would then recommend a specialist, data would be sent to the NHS cloud which would analyse that data. If heart problems started to show, it would pass this data on to a cardiologist, and if symptoms were showing, an appointment would be booked. The NHS could effectively work in a more human and efficient way, taking advantage of the smart devices people already have and helping them to be healthier.

The future of health care might not be an app, but it’s defiantly an exciting place to work and explore. We now have the groundwork and plumbing to come up with some great ideas that will, no doubt, improve people’s lives.