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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Digital Health - whatever that is - looks like a good way to lose money

Laurie Orlov's recent blog posting is entitled: "The fallacy of age as a predictor of future Digital Health adoption."

What she is really talking about is the wall of VC funding that is slurping around digital health startups is not translating into successful products/companies.

Any idiot can do the sums about the frightening costs of health provision and how the medical industry has failed to use IT to increase its productivity. The conclusion to the exercise is that there must be big bucks to be made by giving patients and doctors more information and improving how they communicate.

But, and there are a lot of 'buts', there are lots of reasons why this is going to take longer to materialise than you might think. One VC pundit wrote an article suggesting that it may take a generation before the e-health bonanza arrives (When will digital health go mainstream? When millennials are older and sicker)

We need to make a distinction between using technology to do fantastic things in the diagnostic and treatment process. There is no doubt that there is amazing things happening in this place.

Alongside all of this new brand spanking new technology there is the old world of capturing, retaining, communicating and accessing patient information. This is old tech, yet it is extremely slow making much of a dent in the efficiency of the process.

Now things might be very different in Asia Pacific but in the US and most of Europe (especially the UK) the way that patients and the medical world interrelate is dire. Dick Stroud