“In a future where biometrics are measured constantly and interpretation is aided by algorithm, what do we want our health professionals to actually do?… …and so it’s here that we can see the future of how we should expect to interact with our doctors: not as independent actors who serve as the major source of authority, but as professionals who can help us sort through and make sense of all of the different information coming from our phones, cars, and coffemakers and treat the emotional, as well as physical components of health and well-being”
I don’t know where Bradley gets the idea of Doctors as ‘independent actors who serve as the major source of authority’ (eg. in 2012 it’s only a minority of US Doctors who still work in solo practices) but I remember talking with him over dinner nearly 2 years ago and challenging him on exactly the future concept he outlines in this post (eg. his belief that despite the rapid evolution of sensor technology healthcare service models will remain so dated that in the future citizens will be getting automated messages from phone companies informing them that they ‘probably have Parkinson’s’).
I think it’s critical that technologists realise that no matter how good your diagnostic tech is it will always be important to listen to what your patient is telling you because diagnosis is never going to be the end goal (for that think along the lines of helping the patient to better manage their health).
As the use of advanced mHealth tech and services make it possible to detect disease and even behaviour that will lead to disease ever earlier we arrive at a place where the “how we communicate with patients” becomes critical. Even just to even be heard above the noise (how many million advertisers are going to want to use these phone companies to send their automated messages?) we’re going to have to be smart. In my opinion that smartness will come from being able to make more indepth understandings of patients and the way they wish to live so that you can work with them in a highly personalised way that can help them avoid the development of conditions and manage the progression of the ones they will inevitably develop.
Technology might enable us to continuously analyse our voice/movements/scents/color/electrical activity/density/etc but the action that we will need to take and be prepared to take as a result of having this data is going to continue to be determined by listening to and having an understanding of the individual patient (and we can use technology to do this more effectively too).