Panel of Experts Discuss Mobile Technology's Integration
News Is technology actually improving health care? Two insiders weigh the progress afforded by mobile and telehealth, as well as the stigma that tech tends to carry with it in the medical sphere.
We sit down with Ralph C. Derrickson, Carena’s president and CEO, as well as ARM’s IoT Business specialist Michael Horne, to get an in-depth look at the ways technology directly impacts the average patient’s quality of care.
How has the adoption of technology changed your industry for the better?
Ralph Derrickson: The application of technology allows the creation of new care delivery models that allow care to be delivered on the patient’s terms, when and where they need it. Technology is not a replacement for care, rather it is a tool to improve access to high quality medical care. Technology gives health systems and providers the opportunity to engage with patients outside of the office visit, building long-term relationships.
Michael Horne: ARM designs energy-efficient processors and related technologies to deliver intelligence in applications ranging from sensors to servers, including smartphones, tablets and the devices in the Internet of Things (IoT). The adoption of our technology has enabled collaboration between more than 1,000 companies, bringing about unique connected experiences for people everywhere. This allows families to have richer and more meaningful interactions, and make the environments they work and live in safer and less wasteful.
Technology integration has endured a stigma of being intrusive. How would you categorize your experience in creating technology for good
RD: Our approach to technology and innovation is that nothing should compromise patient safety. Given that commitment, we have been very successful working with health systems to create new services that extend the capability of the current health system’s offerings. By partnering with health systems and providers, we’re seen as positive change agents — not “disruptors” or “intruders.”
MH: Our interest is in applying technology to improve access to, and the outcomes of, health care, education and innovation on a global scale. Technology is increasingly integrating itself into more private settings, like our homes. Our work is focused on investing in technology that will add layers of security to protect and safeguard devices and information, ultimately reducing the intrusiveness of technology.
How has technology impacted underserved communities’ ability to advocate for themselves?
RD: The communication requirements of virtual care are ubiquitous and inexpensive. With nothing more than a cell phone, smartphone or tablet, consumers have access to 24/7 on-demand care, through health systems in their area. More importantly, technology allows all consumers to be stakeholders in their health care with easy-to-access educational materials and services like virtual care.
Consumers can get care without leaving work, at a cost that makes sense for their budget, and meets their clinical needs. If virtual care isn’t appropriate, the virtual clinician can help the consumer make the in-person treatment choice that meets their clinical and personal needs.
MH: According to the Centre of Disease Control, over 30 million Americans are underserved today by health insurance. And many more millions live in areas without easy access to health care.
Technology deployed in smartphones and in affordable health tracking, and Internet of Things devices, is allowing people with lifelong conditions to receive remote help and treatments, and others to adopt healthier lifestyles. This in turn drives a healthier America and global community — improving quality of life and building stronger engines for economic growth.
In what ways is your organization contributing to closing the digital divide today?
RD: Pew Research reports that more than 90 percent of Americans own a cell phone. We work with health systems to take advantage of this ubiquitous technology. We design and operate virtual clinics that can be accessed by consumers anytime, anywhere. Working with both rural and urban health partners, we are making access to high-quality health care possible to anyone who needs it.
MH: We invest in programs and projects that have the potential to scale for sustainable, long-term impacts on lives across the world. We have adopted a focus on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and this helps guide our work in addressing the digital divide. We have worked with Literacy Bridge, a charitable organization that uses technology as a “Talking Book” to provide health education to 175,000 impoverished people in the most under-served communities throughout Northern Ghana. As a result, this initiative has helped to reduce maternal and child mortality and chronic malnutrition. In 2016, we worked with 30 international organizations to deliver a pocket-sized, code-able IoT computer called “micro:bit” to over a million 11-year-olds across schools in Great Britain. We are working to extend this vision to bring this simple and effective device to tomorrow’s inventors across America, and the globe.