Unprecedented challenges, unprecedented opportunities
Global healthcare faces unprecedented challenges, particularly in non-communicable diseases such as heart and vascular disease, cancer and respiratory disease. At the same time, powerful computing and mobile technologies are increasingly ubiquitous (in 2014, the ITU predicts there will be more mobile phones than people on the planet).
More than 97,000 health Apps on 62 AppStores worldwide
Technology has great potential to improve health outcomes in markets around the world. Unsurprisingly, there is considerable innovation taking place in low, middle and high income countries around the World. However, much of this innovation is siloed, with countless cycles of inventing and reinventing the same wheels. This drives up development costs, but also limits benefits to users (where real-world care cuts across data silos), creates confusion for buyers of technology, reduces the opportunity for data aggregation for both policymaking and research, and limits the market for innovators and investors. The net impact is that we are not yet realising the potential for technology to improve health.
We created Platform Health to address these issues by creating smart and effective solutions for joining-up data silos, whilst respecting privacy and commercial concerns.
Our approach is based on three founding principles
1 – Build around users
Bad technology requires a strong and consistent push to drive user adoption; with great technology, users drive adoption themselves. We believe that users should be at the centre the design of health solution. For eHealth and mHealth systems, “users” include the patient, the carer, the clinician, the health insurer, the public health official, and those that can influence health (for example, employers or local government). We have learned that a huge range of user needs can be served from remarkably simple data. Such data can be managed securely using standard, low-cost web technology.
Rather than designing technology, then taking it to the user, our approach starts with the user and the target outcomes, then works backwards into the technology that will deliver real impact.
2 – Deploy open standards to ensure interoperability
Siloed eHealth systems cannot talk to each other; where they can be joined-up the investment required can be high. We believe that smart standards can create the necessary interoperability among healthcare systems. We have developed an open standard for health systems based on a proven country-wide eHealth implementation; our standard is called H.MEDX. We have made this available to the international community through a recommendation made with the ITU-T Study Group 16, Question 28 “Multimedia framework for e-health applications”.
Our standards development is driven by two challenges: ensuring it’s great, then ensuring it gets used. Platform Health has collaborated with innovators in a wide range of health systems to develop H.MEDX, and its track record shows that it can help deliver a wide range of eHealth and mHealth functionality, cut innovation costs, and deliver functional interoperability. As a not-for-profit company, Platform Health is here to provide simple, practical support for implementation. We have seen that H.MEDX can support new business models for sustainable financing in eHealth and mHealth. Since we believe in working with – rather than against – the grain of financial incentives, we predict that these scalable business models will carry H.MEDX adoption across Worldwide health markets.
3 – Hard-wire privacy and confidentiality
We believe that data security, privacy and confidentially are simply core design principles that must be addressed as a foundation of health technology design. Our standards and implementation toolkits bake these principles in by design. H.MEDX directly addresses the questions of who owns the data, who controls the data, and who is allowed to access different forms of data.