SXSW Newsflash: Technology empowers patients like never before

This health tech session was optimistically titled ‘Next Gen technology inspires healthier lifestyles’. The panel consisted of a cardiologist, a behaviour change specialist and the medical lead of Google Fit.

What was great to hear in the opening address and as an overarching theme throughout was that the panel shared my optimism about the increasing trend for monitoring aspects of health and the potential for mass behaviour change rather than perceiving it to be a burden on healthcare systems.

Kapil Parakh from Google highlighted that in the healthcare system where there are multiple interactions between patient and clinicians, locations and therapies, technology empowers the patient like never before.

Dr David Albert added a personal note to those physicians resistant to integrating data review into their practice. “You’ve missed an opportunity”. An engaged patient is halfway to a better clinical outcome so he argues that clinicians should take the time to guide patients to what the pertinent information is rather than dismiss the data presented.

Helpfully, healthcare providers in the US are now reimbursing clinicians for time spent reviewing data and so, now that the money is talking, the panel agreed that progress will be made. Dr Albert believes that in the near future, AI will help distil the swathes of data that is collected leading to optimised treatment but ultimately, prevent some treatments from even being necessary in the first place. He’s confident that his services as a cardiologist will still be needed (evidenced by the line for the BBQ joint!) but technology will enable him to spend better quality time with more empowered patients.


By: Fleur Horner

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