The future of health technology

Q&A: How artificial intelligence and wearables are helping to make patients more accountable for their own health and wellbeing

Artificial intelligence (AI) and wearable technology continue to be at the forefront of an ongoing revolution in medical services. In this article, we speak to Martin Blinder, founder and chief executive of Tictrac, an intuitive platform that empowers people to live healthier lives through the use of data. It is an example of this new wave of devices which is changing the face of healthcare

TicTrac empowers people to live healthier lives through AI and the use of data

Q. What potential does technology have to transform the delivery of health services?

A. Digital technologies have had a game-changing impact on most aspects of our day-to-day lives.

Evidence shows many people discontinue use of devices such as smartwatches or fitness trackers because they donít find them useful or are unable to draw insightful conclusions from the data they gather

But one area that hasnít yet felt the full benefit of digital transformation is healthcare and, in particular, preventative health.

As weíve developed as a society, our perspective on healthcare is that itís something we should all be freely provided with.

This is the problem with healthcare as it is today: with treatment so readily available and accessible, people have gained a sense of entitlement to care from professionals. But health technologies have the power to change this, particularly in the sense of transforming the way society approaches healthcare.

As health technologies continue to develop, people as individuals will be encouraged to be more accountable for their own health, preventing issues before they require treatment.

We will be able to significantly reduce the prevalence of preventative diseases such as type 2 diabetes and ultimately alleviate pressure on health services worldwide. This will facilitate a sustainable future for healthcare.

Q. What are the key technological breakthroughs that will help the health sector?

A. In recent times, there has been a huge adoption of wearables in the healthcare space, as well as healthcare apps which have emerged in the uprise of the smartphone.

The problem is, these technologies are often targeted to monitor one specific area of a person's lifestyle, and evidence shows many people discontinue use of devices such as smartwatches or fitness trackers because they donít find them useful or are unable to draw insightful conclusions from the data they gather.

The key behind this is to engage people with their own health and empower them to take control and become self accountable, rather than relying on healthcare systems

The next step in health tech is not just gathering data, itís making sense of it and providing recommendations for self improvement.

There are now platforms available which bring together all health and lifestyle data tracked from the multiple devices people use and combine results to provide recommendations for prevention or pre-treatment of issues.

This is the future of healthcare and where we will begin to see real change, but the key behind this is to engage people with their own health and empower them to take control and become self accountable, rather than relying on healthcare systems.

Q. How does Tictrac work?

A. Tictrac is an intuitive platform that empowers people to live healthier lives through AI and the thoughtful use of data.

The platform combines a userís lifestyle signals, from their apps and wearables, with contextual information about their surroundings - guiding them to achieve their health objectives, such as preventing diabetes or reducing stress levels.

Healthcare providers, insurance companies and governing bodies use our platform and analytics to engage their customers and recommend relevant products and services to them - ultimately reducing the cost of care provision.

We have a dedicated engagement services team which specialises in working to fully maximise levels of end-user adoption by offering a variety of tools, messaging and campaign ideas.

This customised engagement service ensures uptake of the technology is maximised and insurers business needs are met.

Q. The NHS, in particular, is notoriously bad at embracing technology. What is your advice to health trusts looking to deploy innovative platforms such as Tictrac?

A. Investing in new technology doesnít come without its risks, and health services across the board are all too aware of that.

Only by embracing todayís digital transformation programmes will health trusts be able to ensure they continue to fulfil potential and futureproof their operation by providing cutting-edge patient services while giving their employees the best tools with which to do their job

They operate within tight budgets, so any expenditure needs to be carefully planned with decision-makers convinced it will help take their services to the next level; and thatís understandable.

But only by embracing todayís digital transformation programmes will health trusts be able to ensure they continue to fulfil potential and futureproof their operation by providing cutting-edge patient services while giving their employees the best tools with which to do their job.

Thereís no doubt that adopting a bold stance and implementing the right technology will steer us towards building a smarter, stronger and more-innovative health service.

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