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Reimagine the future of Healthcare - in the palm of your hand

Faraz Shafiq, Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer, Cambia Health Solutions
Faraz Shafiq, Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer, Cambia Health Solutions

Faraz Shafiq, Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer, Cambia Health Solutions

As one of the last industries applying advanced technology to put consumers in the driver’s seat, healthcare has a lot of catching up to do. Healthcare is an incredibly personal yet complex industry. It means different things to different people. From telehealth to emergency rooms to at-home visits, there are myriad options that work well for some and less well for others. Healthcare has become increasingly painful for consumers to access, and they’re feeling frustrated and abandoned. It is a fragmented ecosystem, and people desperately want help navigating it. And let’s not forget the financial strain a health event can create on an individual or a family.

Technology and data science can help address some of these issues. The healthcare industry has decades of personal health data and is just beginning to scratch the surface in understanding it. This data enables us to shape and personalize care delivery and services based on what patients want and their unique circumstances and based on their consent. Maximizing that data means our remote diagnostics and monitoring will be more impactful, we can guide patients to the best doctors for their needs and preferences, and a person’s care team will be connected and able to share critical data to coordinate care between providers, payers, and caregivers.

For many of us, our phones are always within arm’s reach all day, every day. Considering that more people in the world have access to a mobile phone than to running water, mobile solutions have the potential to revolutionize care and lessen the burden for both patients and providers. Smartphones and mobile devices are redefining the most fundamental aspects of our lives, including how we communicate with each other and access healthcare.

More than 100,000 health-related smartphone apps are available in app stores around the world. Text messages now outnumber phone calls. Through our phones, we can diagnose symptoms through telehealth apps and avoid leaving home to visit a doctor’s office when we’re sick. There are apps to manage chronic diseases, refill, and ship prescriptions to your home, and offer data-driven recommendations for exercise or nutrition based on personal genetic data. The volume of health data from both medical and consumer sources will reach unparalleled levels in the coming years.

Machine learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are powerful tools to help us process data and extract meaningful information. AI can help providers streamline menial tasks and bring their focus back to the patient’s individual needs. AI won’t replace providers or automate everything from diagnosis to treatment, but it gives us a better opportunity to unearth actionable insights that will influence an individual’s health – including recognition of the non-medical, social determinants of health and potential ways to mitigate challenges. These include where people live, learn, work, and play, and they often influence real health outcomes and wellbeing more than health-related factors. Solutions built from a human-centered design that incorporates these factors will bring us closer to a truly consumer-focused healthcare system.

Mobile is changing the future of healthcare and reimagining the healthcare experience. From cloud computing to interoperability to natural language processing and AI, technology will continue to improve care delivery and help consumers navigate the system and access the care they need when they need it. An integrated ecosystem will also enable us to deliver proactive, preventative care while driving consumer engagement and improving total health outcomes.

As we enter a new decade, technologies in healthcare will continue to evolve and mature, but to be meaningful, they need to solve real problems faced by real people. Buzzwords such as consumerism, innovation, transformation, personalization, are all hollow if the industry can’t show results and deliver on its promises. Effecting real change in healthcare often takes much longer than people like. But as a burgeoning industry, we need to move faster and smarter to create the experiences people want – simple, affordable, and personalized.

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