Health and Healthcare in an Increasingly Connected World

Friday, February 12, 2016: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Wilson A (Marriott Wardman Park)
Elizabeth Mynatt, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
Health and healthcare are being transformed through the availability of technologies that connect patients, providers, family members, communities, and an avalanche of information spurred by mobile health and sensing technologies. The potential is tremendous. One example is the promise of patient-centered coordinated care that would allow diverse expertise to easily collaborate and share information reducing redundant tests, exposing medication complications stemming from independent treatment of multiple chronic conditions, and increasing the number of positive interactions for patients that reinforce treatment adherence and engagement. Another example is the ability to increase patient engagement through innovations in home-based and mobile health and through support for family and community care givers. Of course all of these possibilities are fueled by fluid access to usable date to drive decisions and behaviors that lead to positive health outcomes.

However many perceived and real barriers lie between this vision and its realizations. Many of these barriers are not technical in nature, but are based in the human actors in these systems. How should physicians, who may know little of each other, coordinate care through the collective sharing of a medical record? Should an expert in congestive heart disease comment on mismanaged diabetes? A physical therapist? How can we empower family caregivers and community caregivers while preserving privacy? What if those privacy needs appear to run counter to ensuring the safety of an older adult with diminished cognitive capabilities? What are the limits to exposing patients to predictive data analytics that indicate future ailments? Do these limits change if the ailments can be prevented?

Computing technologies have the potential to reshape healthcare delivery. To realize this potential, the design of the human elements of the delivery system need to be integrated into technical advances. This talk will explore these emerging relationships, bringing to bear issues around data use, security and privacy for the public good.