David Y. Ting, MD, FAAP, FACP, is the Chief Medical Information Officer of the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization. In 2010, he was named Associate Medical Director for Information Systems for the MGH and Massachusetts General Physicians Organization (MGPO), and became its CMIO in 2014.
How will wearables impact healthcare this year?
The word for this year is awareness. This year high-end wearables like Apple’s iWatch and Samsung’s Gear S will raise public awareness of the possibilities of multifunctional, multisensory wearables that are always sensing, always tracking, always available to deliver information and record it. And those high-end devices will also drive consumer interest back toward more affordable wearables, such as the Android Wear family, Gear Fit and Microsoft Band, as well as single-purpose wearables, like Fitbits. As the public’s awareness and ownership of these devices increases, we will see a tipping point where patients will no longer be satisfied with the confusing array of self-help apps that accompany these devices – patients will look to their healthcare providers to help them interpret the mountains of personal health data and better use these gadgets to improve their health. So by the end of this year, healthcare providers will become aware of a market shift, where the demand to manage their patients’ wearable data grows from being a curiosity and “nice to have” to being an expectation and standard of care.
However, these devices have to last more than two days on a charge! They also have to become free agents, not reliant on being tethered to a mobile phone in order to operate beyond a primitive level. And they have to be platform agnostic. I cannot stress more strongly how disappointing it is that healthcare seems to be diverging into a landscape of technology have’s and have-not’s, where patients (and doctors) are limited in their choices of hardware and software applications because of proprietary technology ecosystems.
You’ll be judging the Wearables in Healthcare Pilot Challenge on April 23rd. What does a winning entry look like to you?
Simple. Elegant. Something whose concept my 10-year old son can explain to his classmates. Something that address a problem that is uniquely solved by a device that is worn (not carried) by the user throughout the day. Oh yeah, it is something that can be applied widely across wearable platforms, so that I don’t have to think twice about whether I’m an Android, iOS, or Windows Phone user. I can just use it.
You can also register for our first ever MedTALK Boston Networking Night, on May 13th, for similar conversation and collaboration.
Jenni Whalen is the Executive Assistant of Editorial at Upworthy. She was previously MedTech Boston's Managing Editor and has an MS in Journalism from Boston University, as well as a BA in Psychology from Bucknell University. Whalen has written for Greatist, Boston magazine, AZ Central Healthy Living and the New England Journal of Medicine, among other places. She has also worked as a conference planner, ghost writer, researcher and content developer.
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