There’s a silver lining in the ongoing pandemic: we finally have an opportunity to, once and for all, fix healthcare. Right now, it is far from efficient. We might have plenty of technology and medication, but that doesn’t mean that we – the patients – are getting the best possible treatment. There are several areas I consider very promising when it comes to empowering patients of the future.
Article by Roi Shternin
These days, many of us cannot physically see our doctors, so we’re starting to talk about remote healthcare. We have had these technologies for more than ten years now, but so far, they’ve been utilized poorly.
With Covid, an urgent need came, and healthcare providers had to find unusual solutions, so innovation adaptation became swifter. The FDA in the US is even allowing organizations to use video-based services without HIPAA certifications or proper privacy measures because we did not have enough time to adapt these technologies.
It’s an excellent example of how we can see remote health as a daily operation method with the potential to save a lot of time and money. Physical doctor visits often happen just to get a prescription or a flu shot. For us patients, especially if we are disabled and it’s hard to go to the clinic, I think remote health should be the standard that allows for more visits and better care.
Healthy.io became the first company in the world to receive FDA approval for using a remote service for human testing at home. You can purchase a small kit in which you put a sample of your urine; then, you can simply scan the outcome on your phone.
This is one example of remote health starting to be the standard. In the future, we will see more and more testing on-site and medication delivered to us. Health will be more at home and less in the clinic.
As a patient and innovator, I believe home care is the place to innovate. When we’re talking about admissions to the hospital, most are costly and not very efficient. In many cases, unless it’s intensive care, patients seeing a doctor for five minutes a day, have their vitals taken a few times and are just lying down in the bed without the need to be continuously observed. In my hospital of the future, most of the admissions will be done at home, unless it’s significant trauma, intensive care, or 24-hour post-operational procedures.
We have impressive technologies with FDA approval already in place. One example would be Biobeat, a company producing FDA-approved medical wrist monitors that can take all the vitals that the nurse in the hospital can take – be it your temperature, blood oxygen, pulse, or ECG. Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv uses Biobeats with non-acute patients with Covid-19 – those who need to be in the hospital but don’t need to be thoroughly monitored. Imagine that every patient would get this kind of “watch”, go home to their bed, and be monitored using these remote tools. If it’s urgent, a nurse can come to their home. All in all, I am not sure we will need all the facilities we’re using today.
As for wearables, what we see today is just the tip of the iceberg. Features are released every day, but we haven’t seen anything yet with patents coming in and already being registered.
In my view, we will see more and more patients connected via digital health tools to their primary physician or a health organization. They will be more busy getting better, being engaged in preventive health, mindfulness, health and nutrition, exercise, and less being busy maintaining these follow-ups from chronic illness. If we can use those wearables to prevent health issues, promote and alert, we will see a new future. Patients don’t want to be in a hospital waiting for someone – we want to be like everybody else, so I think wearables are the answer.
R&D and certification process
When it comes to approving new medicines, I am not suggesting sacrificing safety. I’m talking about adapting innovation that will allow us to move forward. There are so many solutions born in corona times, and we’re seeing that health authorities are starting to adapt faster with regard to certifications.
All in all, our future healthcare will act much faster – but maintain an appropriate safety level at the same time.
After being ill for years, Roi diagnosed himself with a rare condition (POTS Syndrome), starting a medical revolution, saving lives and promoting health on his way to saving his own life. Roi Is the founder of the patient-led Israeli society for Dysautonomia and has founded several health startups and NGOs including Help+, Valero Clinical, Project hearts, and Labriut! He is an Expert Trainer, mentor and serves in several boards. Roi served as the first-ever Chief Patient & Head of Patient Innovation for the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute in Austria.
How to start a revolution from your bed | Roi Shternin | TEDxFuxingPark