Buy a $400 Kindle get 24/7 video call assistance with 15 sec response time – pay £108 Billion/year for the NHS & you can’t even use the tools of our time…

CNET Amazon adds Mayday button tech support to new Kindle Fire HDX tablets

It obviously just boils down to the fact that the Patient isn’t the actual customer of the NHS but this great ‘Mayday’ service innovation by Amazon to help sell the new Fire HDX Tablets and support their customers for me highlights the opportunity we have today to use consumer technologies (the tools of our time) to transform how we deliver healthcare experiences.

A lot of people seem to be confused that this is a regulatory problem eg. Paul Buchanan, CEO of TeamBG, in this interesting talk he gave at a recent European Internet Foundation meeting in Brussels:

(3.17 – 6.40 min): “I open up a beautiful little box, I take out a beautiful little device, I switch it on and it works and it connects me to a worldwide economy, community, telephone infrastructure and the opportunity to engage with games and apps and business, I can do absolutely anything I want with the life I choose to live with one of these devices, it’s fantastic except health. If I want to talk today with my healthcare team in the UK and if I want to send them data from a medical device that’s attached to me – so this is a dexcom blood glucose sensor it continuously monitors my blood and gives me a trace to tell me if I’m safe – if I was having a problem right now I couldn’t send this data via this phone to my healthcare team in England because I’d be breaking all sorts of rules regulations and local legislative frame work and yet I can pick this phone up and make a trade and sell stocks in Tokyo and buy them in New York. Why is that? Why are the rules and regulations prohibiting the citizen from being active participants in their own healthcare in quantifying themselves and taking a personal responsibility for managing our own health? We all want to live better lives we don’t like being ill we like having adventures, we like living to the full, we want to be constructive positive contributors to society. The system is in a large way actively promoting us being a net drain on society because of the costs we’re continuing to incur with the increasing rise in obesity, sedentary lifestyles, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic conditions. There are technologies out there right now that could fundamentally change the landscape for healthcare and you people here in the EU, you legislators and policy makers and influencers are the people that need to do this. You need to be excellent at what you do because the decisions that you make and the conversations that you have make my life worth living so I implore you learn from the mobile world, health regulators and policy makers but I’d also put in a word of caution to the mobile world. Patients are not consumers, we’re people. There is a similarity in economic language that is used to discuss the numbers in health, the consumer and retail business (but) there is a fundamental difference. The Difference is health is much like religion it has to be personal. It has to be meaningful to the individual. If change and behavioural change

It’s interesting to hear Patients are now taking to the stage to complain to regulators but I don’t think it’s fair to blame them on the inflexibility of our healthcare providers to adopt the tools of our time (for a great example of this check out how a 93 year old with her own iPad can’t understand why it can’t be used to communicate with their NHS GP practice) but there are plenty of brilliantly smart GPs in the NHS who are making themselves available remotely (eg. Dr Tony Stern, Dr Amir Hannan, etc) and there are now even Endocrinologists in the UK that are starting to work with Patients who have connected glucometers and sophisticated smartphone apps (from Telcare Inc).

Understanding the patient experience that’s detailed here by transplant Patient Michael Sere’s should help you appreciate that in reality there’s obviously nothing material in the rules or regulations that’s actually ‘prohibiting’ confident smart clinicians making themselves accessible to their Patients via a variety of means.

In my opinion the real problem is that healthcare providers fall into one of the following four categories:

> They don’t know how to use the technologies (some great foundation lessons here)

> They aren’t confident because haven’t been trained about using consumer technologies (contact the Healthcare Informatics Society of Ireland to enquire about hosting the world’s first accredited mHealth course for Healthcare Professionals in your institution)

> They have no incentives to change the way they practice (they aren’t responsible for the full cost of a Patients care so asking an endocrinologist to pay an extra £ for a connected blood glucometer so that it saves the costs incurred by a local authority when that Patient is in Brussels speaking at a conference is like trying to convince someone to buy an extended warranty for their next door neighbours TV).

> They don’t want to (they’re happy with the status quo and see no motivation for change – perhaps they should listen to their Patients more?)

> They don’t yet understand that the product they provide is ‘healing relationships, and these can be fashioned in many new and wonderful forms if we suspend the old ways of making sense of care’.

What do you think?

About David Doherty
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