Last updated: Smart health technology: How data can improve patient care

Smart health technology: How data can improve patient care


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With all of the advancements in smart health technology, it feels like it’s time to make health insurance a product that also helps keep you healthy. In Asian culture, this principle has a long tradition. And the key: You have to DO something for your body, mind, and environment to really stay healthy.

Sound convenient? Not at all – especially while living in the times of instant gratification.

What could my healthcare insurance do to provide me a perfect Sleep Well At Night (SWAN) experience?

The cure is prevention: Proactive advice for patients

Patients who require continuous observation and medication could benefit tremendously from proactive advice. How could this happen?

Today patients are already able to access and provide their data about blood levels, heartbeat, pulse, even a cardiogram via simple sensors and devices to a centralized medical office.

There, the analysis of the patient data would be a daily routine, and could be handled reliably. Then by comparing the progression of data from one patient with a bigger amount of data from other patients, it could be possible to discover certain patterns.

In case red signals arise, a doctor could become involved right away and give proactive advice to the patient. This process could be supported by an AI powered system, so that the rising amount of data and the discovery of patterns could be automated for a greater part and support the advice of the doctor.

In this simple example, integration of data from different sources of data into a single system is critical for a precise diagnosis. It could be a fairly simple, but valuable, SWAN experience – the patient would like be willing to pay for it.

How smart health technology can benefit your health long-term

Smart clothing like t-shirts, shoes, or even smart under garments can help you discover and pinpoint the areas of your life where your health suffers. By measuring your activity, pulse, heartbeat, etc. and pointing out the obvious if you don’t get enough sleep, or get stressed too often, smart health technology can create little insights that add up to big things when it comes to your long-term health.

Sound a bit too much like self-optimization terror? Think of it this way: It’s your body and your life, and you cannot exchange or replace parts from it so easily.

When you are sleeping on average 7-8 hours a night, your immune system gets strengthened and, in parallel, your brain processes data, vocabulary, and information, storing them into your longterm memory. Learning while you are sleeping sounds excellent to me!

To analyze your phases of sleep, a smartwatch or device could help. The app should show your light and deep sleep phases, as well as your REM-phase, and how long you were awake or stood up during the night.

These data points could be shared with your insurer, who could then offer personalized services on your health app to help you to sleep better, offer courses, or get in touch with your medical care provider. Insurers could directly measure whether these customers are catching colds less than other patients outside of this “SWAN customer” group.

Health insurers can become trusted advisors thanks to smart health technology

For those not interested in being rewarded from their insurance provider based on their behavior during the day, there is another option: The insurance could function as a platform for well-being. Every customer could decide – based on their personal situation – to choose from diverse offerings like courses for sport, mindfulness, nutrition, resilience, and many more.

Whatever they do, the insurer can act as a trusted advisor, checking and analyzing their current situation, while offering opportunities so customers could feel better – and stay healthier in the long run.

It seems like a good way to shrink the costs of a highly sophisticated healthcare system: Customers love perks and surprises, and tend to be loyal to a company that offers value to them.

No matter what, customers control the data

Customers could decide how much data they’d make transparent to their health insurance provider, and how they’d like to  rewarded – it could be by a certain amount of money back per year, or lower fees.

The responsibility of data security and reliability should be the highest priority for the insurance companies, whether they are private or public.

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