LifeTime Journal

Will Doctors’ Perspectives Change Radically through eHealth?

The eHealth sector is in constant change — not only through the multitude of new apps and companies emerging but also the innovations of established companies, such as Apple, Samsung and Google. Being most active in the eHealth sector, Apple recently released three pillars for digital health companies to use:

HealthKit: a central aggregation interface for personal health data.

ResearchKit: for consensus, questionnaires and input.

CareKit: to manage medical inquiry and medical pathways.

What are the consequences of the digital transformation of the health sector? The perspective of a doctor in a doctor-patient relation is very unique… will this perspective change in the context of the newest innovations? So far, a doctor’s examinations are mostly based on anamnestic data.

Anamnestic data — the complete history recalled and recounted by a patient — is the basis for all our decisions. Yet, many data points are left out if only recalled by patients. Thus, the need for a more reliable, comprehensive and less subjective data basis lies at hand.

A central place for health-data as well as the continuous body-data-stream did not exist … until now.

 

Patients who quantify themselves continuously with smart health technology will have this new set of data, that — from a doctor’s perspective — could be very important. If doctors have access to this set of data, provided their patients approval, they will spend less time gathering anamnestic data of patients and get more reliable data. In addition, a crowd science movement may lead to data that was never available before, which will then close the loop back to professional science.

To conclude, the core competency of doctors is shifting. In the past, the main task of doctors was the collection, aggregation, interpretation, analysis and prioritization of data and deriving a clinical pathway. Nowadays, the doctors role is changing towards a shared decision with patients, with doctors informing patients and both parties taking the decision for a treatment method together. Thus, doctors shift in their roles from being seen as “ the omniscient” to becoming trusted health companions. Looking into the future, technology will not only collect and aggregate data, but algorithms will start interpreting, analysing and periotizing data, as well as suggesting clinical pathways. Thus, the preparation of data and decisions will shift towards technology and algorithms and doctors will continuously grow in their role of health consultants enabling them to enabling better medicine through longitudinal data.

Dr. Johannes Jacubeit