The Business Year talks to Michael Pomerance about health technology and how the focus is now shifting toward designing a health care system with the patient in mind.
What are the most important trends and developments in health care IT?
Previously, the market for health care IT was focused on the hospitals and clinics, but now, the majority of the providers have a system that has turned the market back to the consumer.
The market started with Fitbit and step counters but it is evolving fast: diabetes can now be measured with skin patches; clothes will soon feature health sensors. The world is fast approaching a period where the health care system will be exposed to the patient’s entire information.
This mass amount of data will be uploaded to the doctor’s office to create the best possible environment for the patient. Presently, a doctor has only 3-5 percent of a patient’s health-related data but technology has already started to play a key role in this regard.
Health care spending in the region has been increasing in recent years. How do you expect this trend to develop going forward?
Governments cannot afford to pay for rising health care costs as most countries have a maximum budget and services are taken away when that maximum is reached.
The market will move into a direction where the consumer gets a stipend from the government to cover their health care expenses. This will shift the financial burden of unhealthy lifestyles from the government to the individual. The consumer’s control over personal data will allow individuals to design a personalized health system.
The largest health care costs are because of lifestyle-related diseases, and once consumers are financially penalized or rewarded for their lifestyle, healthier lifestyle choices will prevail, and government spending will decrease. It is just a matter of time before such a system is developed.