Amazing power of everyday data

Innovation maven Naomi Fried discusses ways to rev up data
By Eric Wicklund
09:53 AM
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Naomi Fried

Naomi Fried served as the first chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, where she launched the Innovation Acceleration Program. She was previously vice president of innovation and advanced technology at Kaiser Permanente, where she helped identify and assess new healthcare technology, chaired the board of the Innovation Fund for Technology, formed KP’s Telehealth Working Group and helped launch the Sidney R. Garfield Center for Health Care Innovation. Fried recently announced she would be leaving Boston Children's on Dec. 12 for a position at Cambridge, Mass.-based Biogen Idec as vice president of medical information, innovation, and external partnerships.

Q. What's the one promise of mHealth that will drive the most adoption over the coming year? 

A. We will see tremendous uptake of mHealth technologies that untether clinicians from their computers in the hospital environment and allow them to move more freely. The process of replacing paper with electronic information has been under way for some time, but is not yet complete. Technology providing access to medical information anywhere on the fly will accelerate the process of digitalization and drive adoption of mHealth solutions in the clinical setting. The health system will see improved efficiency and a reduction in medical errors, leading to cost reductions.

Q. What mHealth technology will become ubiquitous in the next 5 years? Why?

A. Virtual telehealth visits coupled with technologies for the collection of biometric data will be ubiquitous in five years. Today, we can do many types of virtual visits, but the addition of technologies for the virtual “laying on of hands” and collection of clinical information will greatly expand the care that can be delivered remotely. Telehealth offers cheaper, more convenient care and is a win for all healthcare stakeholders.

Q. What's the most cutting-edge application you're seeing now? What other innovations might we see in the near future?

A. I am excited about the passive collection of clinical-grade data from the consumer through the use of simple wearables that collect biometric information. Google’s moonshot contact lens to measure glucose is the type of technology I hope we will see a lot more of. Clinical grade wearables could change preventive care significantly.

Q. What mHealth tool or trend will likely die out or fail?

A. There are way too many health and wellness apps out there now. The market for health apps is over-saturated. I think we will see a lot of those offerings disappear in time.

Q. What mHealth tool or trend has surprised you the most, either with its success or its failure?

A. I have been disappointed by the failure to leverage basic data or “everyday data” in healthcare. We could be doing much more with biometric device data and home monitoring device data, to name just two examples. There is a lot of talk about big data - but we have so much untapped potential to improve care by leveraging basic clinical data. Clinicians need to access and use basic, everyday data more frequently in caring for patients and in making diagnoses.

Q. What's your biggest fear about mHealth? Why?

A. The real potential to impact healthcare through mHealth is via clinical solutions that improve clinical communication, mobility and timely access to accurate data. I am concerned that the VCs are investing heavily in digital health plays for the consumer, which will not prove to be lucrative. The VCs will get burned and, as a result, move away from opportunities in digital health and the real potential winners - clinical solutions - will go unfunded.

Q. Who's going to push mHealth "to the next level" – consumers, providers or some other party?

A. Providers -  especially as they are forced to assume more risk -  will drive mHealth adoption and benefit from mobile solutions. mHealth is going to revolutionize the way doctors and nurses work and bring down overall healthcare costs.

Q. What are you working on now?

A. We are planning an expansion of the mobile app MyPassport to provide patient access to their medical information, a pictorial list of their clinical care team and a care plan when admitted to the hospital. We have had to create a BYOD infrastructure and in-house app store for provisioning. We are also expanding our post-discharge patient communication platform, DisCo, to reach a wider patient population.

Q. What's the one promise of mHealth that will drive the most adoption over the coming year? 

A. We will see tremendous uptake of mHealth technologies that untether clinicians from their computers in the hospital environment and allow them to move more freely. The process of replacing paper with electronic information has been under way for some time, but is not yet complete. Technology providing access to medical information anywhere on the fly will accelerate the process of digitalization and drive adoption of mHealth solutions in the clinical setting. The health system will see improved efficiency and a reduction in medical errors, leading to cost reductions.

Q. What mHealth technology will become ubiquitous in the next 5 years? Why?

A. Virtual telehealth visits coupled with technologies for the collection of biometric data will be ubiquitous in five years. Today, we can do many types of virtual visits, but the addition of technologies for the virtual “laying on of hands” and collection of clinical information will greatly expand the care that can be delivered remotely. Telehealth offers cheaper, more convenient care and is a win for all healthcare stakeholders.

Q. What's the most cutting-edge application you're seeing now? What other innovations might we see in the near future?

A. I am excited about the passive collection of clinical-grade data from the consumer through the use of simple wearables that collect biometric information. Google’s moonshot contact lens to measure glucose is the type of technology I hope we will see a lot more of. Clinical grade wearables could change preventive care significantly.

Q. What mHealth tool or trend will likely die out or fail?

A. There are way too many health and wellness apps out there now. The market for health apps is over-saturated. I think we will see a lot of those offerings disappear in time.

Q. What mHealth tool or trend has surprised you the most, either with its success or its failure?

A. I have been disappointed by the failure to leverage basic data or “everyday data” in healthcare. We could be doing much more with biometric device data and home monitoring device data, to name just two examples. There is a lot of talk about big data - but we have so much untapped potential to improve care by leveraging basic clinical data. Clinicians need to access and use basic, everyday data more frequently in caring for patients and in making diagnoses.

Q. What's your biggest fear about mHealth? Why?

A. The real potential to impact healthcare through mHealth is via clinical solutions that improve clinical communication, mobility and timely access to accurate data. I am concerned that the VCs are investing heavily in digital health plays for the consumer, which will not prove to be lucrative. The VCs will get burned and, as a result, move away from opportunities in digital health and the real potential winners - clinical solutions - will go unfunded.

Q. Who's going to push mHealth "to the next level" – consumers, providers or some other party?

A. Providers -  especially as they are forced to assume more risk -  will drive mHealth adoption and benefit from mobile solutions. mHealth is going to revolutionize the way doctors and nurses work and bring down overall healthcare costs.

Q. What are you working on now?

A. We are planning an expansion of the mobile app MyPassport to provide patient access to their medical information, a pictorial list of their clinical care team and a care plan when admitted to the hospital. We have had to create a BYOD infrastructure and in-house app store for provisioning. We are also expanding our post-discharge patient communication platform, DisCo, to reach a wider patient population.