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e-health: AIDA Technology – Common Trends

Written by Dr Angel Salazar CEO of AIDA Technology

The potential of sensor-based monitoring as a tool for health care, health promotion, and research has been reported in medical journals [1] and is increasingly being highlighted in the social media. Examples of this type of devices are HealthMantic’s hTrac, NIKE plus, MOTOACTV, Jawbone and Fitbit.  With, allegedly, over 26,000 apps in the main app stores, consumers are also becoming familiar with the range of possible uses of apps and self-tracking devices. Weekly news about new health app releases for smart-phones is becoming routine [2, 3].

The diversity in the number and type of innovations that we are witnessing is not atypical for the early stages of new digital industries. This diversity in the innovation side is, however, in sharp contrast with the inertia in the adoption side of the equation.

Although consumers seem to be eager to adopt new technologies, healthcare institutions are not as speedy at promoting adoption due to several centripetal forces, including organisational inertia and regulatory issues surrounding patient confidentiality and privacy. In a recent book “The Creative Destruction of Medicine”, Eric Topol describes the medical establishment as “ultra-conservative”, “ossified” and “sclerotic” [4].

In addition, understanding how the public responds to the spread of devices and apps that can record and share personal health related information will have a direct impact on both the nature of healthcare and biomedical research [5].

Although certain advances in technology still need to be realised to enable true integrated personal health systems, the major obstacles to the rapid adoption of new technologies are economic, social and institutional. The way healthcare institutions ‘execute’ their personal health initiatives can both promote or hinder widespread adoption. For instance, global web traffic data suggests that very few institution-based personal health record portals get any real traction amongst their users, in comparison with consumer-oriented e-health promotion initiatives.

Ultimately, the desire to keep some control over the overall change process has to be balanced with the need to promote open collaboration with zero barriers to competition [6].

Social entrepreneurs, both for-profit and non-profit, will be the key engines of innovation in this new medical digital era.

 

References (all last accessed 10th April 2012)

1. Stanley and Osgood, Annals of Family Medicine, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3133575/

2. MobiHealth News, http://mobihealthnews.com/15229/top-10-iphone-medical-apps-for-2011/

3. MobiHealth news, http://mobihealthnews.com/13368/report-13k-iphone-consumer-health-apps-in-2012/

4. DW2, http://dw2blog.com/2012/03/25/smartphone-technology-super-convergence-and-the-great-inflection-of-medicine/

5. Genome Medicine, http://genomemedicine.com/content/3/1/6

6. AIDA Technology, “Disruptive ideas”: http://www.edocr.com/doc/17377/aida-technology-disruptive-ideas

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