Fitbits, FuelBands, and Jawbones, oh my. These words would have been meaningless a few years ago, but today, they represent some of the latest consumer technologies we’re using to track everything from steps to sleep. Wearable technology provides us with more insight into our health than ever before, giving us more incentives to take care of ourselves – whether that means getting in an extra hour of sleep or going for a longer run. These mobile tools also collect mountains of valuable data, and providers across the private and public sector are brainstorming ways to analyze that data to provide better patient care, improve preventative care, and even manage population health.
EMC recently teamed up with MeriTalk to study the impact of wearable technology and mobile devices among healthcare-focused Federal agencies, and results showed that nearly 60% believe Big Data will be crucial to fulfilling their agency objectives. As agencies are beginning to explore Big Data’s potential, they’re using it to tackle everything from clinical trial data management to cost containment. Organizations are also looking at mHealth, or the use of mobile and wireless devices, as a way to improve patient care and communicate with them more effectively.
Over the past five years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Serviceshas taken the lead in this space and is a great example for other agencies interested in exploring mHealth. For instance, its TXT4Tots program gives parents and caregivers of children aged 1-5 information on nutrition and physical activity, and its Office of Minority Health offers live video-streaming of clinician courses on managing diabetes.
So what is the future of healthcare, you ask? Two words: Big Data. The possibilities are truly endless, and I’m excited to see what developers and our Federal healthcare community will come up with next. If you’d like to read more about this topic, I invite you to check out my colleague Guy Churchward’s recent blog post on the topic.