Cognitive Healthcare: Imagine A World, Imagine This World

Think about the health-related apps you use on your smart devices. One thing that can be said about those apps is that they are not smart. In fact, the term smart devices is a misnomer. For the most part, the same can be said about wearables.

Let’s look at two types of apps; one for diet and one for exercise. Those apps are basically nothing more than buckets that hold recorded data. Data about what you ate and how far you walked. And they can perform basic math—I need to walk 10,000 steps, I walked 3,000 steps, I missed the stated goal by 7,000 steps. Same idea with the amount of calories consumed, except with that one you can lie about what you ate.

At the end of the day what do you have? You have two buckets; a step bucket and a calorie bucket. Each bucket functions independent of the other bucket. The exercise bucket cannot infer anything about the exercise data it recorded, and it cannot relate the exercise data to the data collected about how much you ate.

For example, assume your diet app recorded that you ate 2,000 calories a day by eating a bag of Twizzlers every day for a week. The output from the app would be the same as if those 2,000 calories came from eating fish and vegetables all week.

Neither app knows what medications you are taking or what foods you should be eating. The apps do not know if you have high blood pressure or heart disease or whether you are pregnant. They know nothing more about your health than your doctor or payer or pharmacist. They do not tell you anything that you didn’t already know—the app tells you that you ate an apple for lunch; it can do that because you told the app that you ate an apple for lunch.

Based on your available health data, your ability or your doctor’s ability to know how healthy you are right now would be no more accurate than asking an 8-Ball or using a Ouija board.

The apps are dumb. The data is dumb. Thinking you are managing your health by using those apps may also be dumb. There is no point in collecting data about your health unless there is a way to make it actionable and a way to draw conclusions from it.

But what if we could make them smart? What if there was a way for a consumer to effectively manage their health? What if there was a personalized Super-Smart-App, an SSA? (Just so you know, this is not science fiction.)

Suppose providers, payers, and pharmacies had such an app, a SSA? What could that SSA do for patients, consumers, providers, payers, and pharmacies?

  • Collect data daily from apps and wearable devices
  • Analyze the data
  • Tell providers, payers and pharmacies if a person is at risk or needs a lab or needs to be seen or is having an adverse reaction to a medication
  • Schedule the appointment
  • Ask questions of patients and consumers
  • Answer questions of patients and consumers
  • Answer questions of providers, payers, and pharmacies
  • Tell patients and consumers what they should be doing
  • Track whether patients and consumers are doing it
  • Award wellness points

And what if people could use that SSA from any device at any time? Sure beats having to call the provider before 6 PM Monday through Friday.

All of these things can be done today. The reason they haven’t is that nobody has bothered to imagine a world. The Internet of Things is an asset and a strategy. Why not make it yours?

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