Many children know exactly how Hasbro’s celebrity autobots, the Transformers, work. It seems that top eHealth and healthcare experts aren’t sure how eHealth will transform healthcare. It maybe that new medical techniques and technologies will have a bigger impact. This was the theme at a World Economic Forum (WEF) event in Davos, Switzerland.
The discussion on the hospital of the future set out a theme of healthcare industry moving out of acute care in hospital into homes and clinics. As part of this, a wide, integrated range of data sources will help inform treatment plans. It’s seen as a global phenomenon, but two pertinent questions are:
- How will technology companies, especially those in health ICT, develop and provide services to collect and disseminate the data needed?
- How will health systems and their workforces use the data to improve outcomes and transform healthcare?
As a big wealth community, the WEF event has an excessive USA emphasis. For Africa, two crucial extra questions are:
- Can eHealth help to close the gaps significantly between its large burden of disease, its increasing population and its paucity of healthcare resources?
- If it can, how can it be done sustainably?
The experts at WEF outlined some of the new clinical techniques and practices beginning to transform healthcare. There was a downside too, the barriers to data sharing.
There’s nothing new about transferring healthcare from hospitals to community care. It’s been happening since healthcare was created. It has a parallel activity too. As hospitals divest, they also invest in new and more complex medical techniques and practices drawn from research. They’re two continuous curves. This discussion’s on You Tube too.
For Africa’s health systems, an extra eHealth theme is using eHealth to support health workers already working in communities. Giving them better access to drugs and diagnostic tests and results is a priority too.
The WEF experts were unclear about how patients’ can have their data and achieving Interoperability (IOp) between health systems and clinical services. Standardised terminology and health informatics are essential to help shift healthcare models towards communities and homes. Achieving it’s crucial because healthcare’s and medicine’s future depend on doctors who use new clinical techniques and eHealth creatively to improve patient care.
Is it time to send for Bumblebee and its team of heroic Autobots? Their mission could be to capture the evil eHealth Decepticons and Resisticons who are loose in healthcare, so “Rev up and roll out”, or maybe not. The steady eHealth trajectory’s much more appropriate for Africa