Kaiser Permanente shares their vision of the future of Healthcare at NASA mHealth Conference

Shown for the first time at the recent NASA mHealth event held at KP’s Center for Total Health in Washington DC, this video was designed to help set out what the world’s first major healthcare brand to take a Mobile First focus thinks the US healthcare experience might look like in the not-so-distant future:

My thoughts:

Wow, what a video. It always surprises me that so few care providers appreciate the power of a video to get messages out there and onboard staff and patients with their strategic objectives. A great example of the powerful opportunity video provides us to show rather than tell.

Obviously there are challenges for others doing the same (eg. public care providers who face frequent political policy changes, private sector care providers who may feel hand tied with business models tied to the number of visits and procedures they carry out, etc) but isn’t it about time that every care provider communicated so clearly what they want to be?

The need for a guiding vision of the type of future you are trying to use information technology to create is critical for healthcare workers who are increasingly disillusioned by those over promising Healthcare IT benefits – especially when they can already see that this mobile first strategy is setting new benchmarks for patient engagement.

Mobile First

I love the way so much of the focus in this video doesn’t look like healthcare and is directed at those everyday opportunities and touchpoints that a healthcare provider could leverage to help their patients lead healthier lives.

Projecting mobile data to other screens eg. the bathroom mirror giving weather outlooks while you brush your teeth:

Same mirror display being used to show blood sugar trends:

I personally think it’s going to need to be even more pervasive and built into normal experiences than this to work properly but these are great ideas that highlight the opportunity.

Apple, Apple, Apple

We’ve heard execs at the worlds biggest pharma brands referring to themselves as “an Apple Company” and this video is consistent with the healthcare industry love affair with the Apple brand which is a bit of a suprise if you’ve been watching KPs mobile strategy develop (eg. until now it’s had a strong focus on mobile web and Android OS).

I’d expect there to be significant halo effects on the Apple iPhone and iPad brands amongst patients and other healthcare providers who get to see this video and it’s so powerful I could easily imagine Apple showing a next generation of the video (featuring Apple services like iCloud, Passbook, FaceTime, etc) in a keynote presentation to show their ability to help enterprises get work done.

With so many Apple iPhones in such a powerful video I think it’s clear mobile device manufacturer rivals like Samsung and Nokia should be sending their best sales team on a mission to impress Philip Fasano on their devices and services as we’re seeing in the UK that the actions of such early adopters can end up being key to the brands domination of the healthcare market.

Vision Vs Reality

It’s common to watch (or in most cases just read or hear) similar visionary ideas being put forward by big healthcare brands to just be left asking yourself if the people who came up with them have any idea of the change that’s needed to actually make any of this a reality. As the first major healthcare brand to take a mobile first strategy I think the opposite is true with Kaiser Permanente.

There’s a very thin line between success and absolute failure and from our own experiences here at 3G Doctor we’ve found that the most valuable lessons have never arrived from some innate ability to innovate or vision the future but rather from our commitment to a mobile first strategy from the outset (way back in 2006) and then putting in the far from glamorous work load that’s needed to serve patients anytime/anywhere and then survey and listen to every single patient who’s used the service to try and gain an understanding of what customers think we need to do more of and work harder on.

Those operating in organisations like the NHS who pay lip service to the Mobile opportunity by talking of the urgent need for an “apps marketplace” whilst outsourcing their online presence don’t get what this is all about and the only vision they can formulate is one in which they don’t exist because they fail to appreciate the internal resistance they face from those who have no intention of letting go of the familiar ways they have of doing things.

Zero Paper

I’m so happy to see that there are no dead trees being thrown away in this video but it strikes me that all that arm waving to use these touch screens really is going to drive hardware manufacturers to start supporting eye tracking interfaces (one of the other important roles for the forward facing camera).

What would I have loved to have seen? How about mobile AR glasses that enabled the healthcare workers to use any surface and interact with it my just moving their eyes?

Social Media

It’s a bit of a surprise to see KP showing Facebook integration (privacy, advertisers, remember the bit George Halvorson said about “a bright shiny line around our data“?) but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a lot more developments in this area as KP have just hired a new VP of Brand Management who has previously worked with Facebook.

I think feedback loops would have added more value here eg. instead of a public update to a social network stating “@KP took great care of me” how about patients providing structured feedback securely after encounters that could then be data mined to draw new insights to further improve care processes and identify opportunities to improve?

I also think they could have put some more thought into how they’re going to manage social media eg. the idea of KP hiring someone to wear a white coat and sit in the Hospital trying to manage their social media profile is unlikely to prove productive and likely to be unnecessary – after all wouldn’t your patients be your social media evangelists if you were providing care that’s as efficient and accessible as we’ve seen in the video?

What I’d like to have seen more of? Video Consulting

I understand that all of the technologies seen in the video are being piloted/tested by KP already (including Google’s Glass Project) so it surprises me that while we see so little focus on preventative opportunities and not even the suggestion that there is a massive opportunity to video consult with patients outside the walls of the hospital:

I also think the video could have shown technology being used where it’s needed most eg. had the 72 year old patient been wearing a watch like the one worn by her grandson the dehydration would have presumably been picked up and could have been prevented from developing long before an emergency situation developed:

Even I picked up that the patient had just flown from Harrisburg PA to Oakland CA so surely it wouldn’t have been too difficult for mHealth monitoring apps to have been watching out for this concern (flying and sudden climate changes are very common causes of dehydration) so that it could have been prevented altogether?

I get the impression that a diagnostic app telling you to go to an urgent care centre is yet another example of how many developers are simply looking to extend to mobile the reactionary approach that’s ingrained in the outdated way we provide care today eg. there wouldn’t be a Doctor in the USA who would fail to look at this patients record and then determine with a video call that it would be a good idea to start immediately prescribing fluids BEFORE the family pack her into the car to make the trip to the hospital.

I can understand that it might not look good to show a patient being sick in a promotional video but what we see here might be seen to undermine the value of preventative opportunities all these bathroom mirror apps etc can offer. Surely it would be much better for KP to highlight how they can use mHealth to video connect patients, their records and informed remote Doctors so that they can prevent uneccessary hospital admissions and the associated waste of healthcare resources being used in the first place?

Breaking down the Internal/External communication silos

Over the years I’ve been approached by a wide variety of major healthcare and mobile brands who ask me to sign NDA’s before trying to explain that they have such visions for their future. In the vast majority of cases it’s nowhere near as well thought out or well made as this video from KP and the it’s rare to find coherent visions of what they’re trying to achieve even amongst execs that work very closely together.

Many firms skip the concept defining video and go all out to build “homecare of the future” scenarios in their labs at eye watering cost only to be shocked when I show them a video of my home where I’m already getting much of the same functionality at a small percentage of the cost eg. a $100 M2M care monitor that replaces the need for wiring up $X0,000 of clunky eHealth kit.

The problem I have is that my heart sinks as I learn more about them because it’s obvious to me that any firm that thinks they have some definitive secret answer to the healthcare challenge hasn’t got the first clue about the challenge that healthcare faces. Even worse I often later meet with execs at the same company who haven’t even seen the videos or lab (because “they don’t work on this project”) and I’m just left thinking this plan is all just hot air that’s going nowhere regardless of the ambitions or amount of money they have to throw at the opportunity.

One of the most powerful things I think KP will gain from openly sharing a video like this is the conversations it can start and the focus, pride and confidence it can give to staff members that they work in a company that’s not just a global thought leader but also confident enough in its vision to share it with the world.

About David Doherty

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12 Responses to Kaiser Permanente shares their vision of the future of Healthcare at NASA mHealth Conference

  1. Pingback: Kaiser Permanente shares their vision of the future of Healthcare at NASA mHealth Conference | Australian ehealth | Scoop.it

  2. Pingback: KP releases video showcasing it's mHealth vision of the future of ... | Health Technology Framework | Scoop.it

  3. Not only preventative monitoring of Mom, but it totally skips the simple first-aid care of moving her indoors to a cool area and rehydrating. The family drives her to the ER (ED) first–talk about overuse of urgent care!

    • Hi Donna,

      I think the bit that was skipped was even before the first aid opportunity presented eg. we see that the senior patient flew 2700 miles to California when there were heatwave warnings being issued. With this information the need for first aid (and hospital admission) could have easily been prevented.

      Moral of the story: develop solutions for mobile not bathroom mirrors 😉

  4. What an inciteful post. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. Reblogged this on mHealth, HCSM & eye care and commented:
    Inciteful post on #mHealth vision

  6. I think that dehydration was chosen because it would not be life-threatening or dramatic (e.g. stroke) but it really was not enough for the ‘stay’ scenario. The minute Grandma got dizzy, it was off to the hospital with her as opposed to simple first aid first (inside in cool room, rest, fluids by mouth, check for situational awareness and responsiveness) and then using mHealth monitoring to determine pulse and BP before the trip to the hospital. (The son has a wristwatch sensor, after all) Arrythmia, perhaps?

    Sometimes what happens in these videos is that there’s a budget, everyone wants in with their tech, so you skip a few steps. The situation felt truncated to me and that could be the result of a few cuts. Also, even KP would shy away from a too-dramatic medical situation.

    What would have served very well is something else you mentioned–that all the technology demo’d here is currently being tested or in pilot with KP. THAT should have been mentioned as the final :10 wrap–that this is being tested and while not here-and-now, could be in the immediate future. Else we are back in 2006 with Accenture’s talking medicine cabinet.

  7. rgrosssz says:

    The current technology allows for this to become reality and not just an amazing advertising video.
    Administration engagement, such as KP’s, is reshaping the field of healthcare.
    Thanks for sharing.

  8. Pingback: Bill Gates: the proliferation of mobile devices hasn’t yet revolutionized life in developing countries « mHealth Insight: the blog of 3G Doctor

  9. Pingback: Isn’t it obvious that mHealth is the only way we can change the “Pandora’s Box” perception of patient accessible online medical records? « mHealth Insight: the blog of 3G Doctor

  10. Pingback: Slides and my key take away from my mHealth Future of Pharma Masterclass in London | mHealth Insight: the blog of 3G Doctor

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