DALLAS – In the fast-changing world of home health technology, Harry Wang believes care providers, insurers and regulatory bodies must put patient-centered care first and foremost.
As senior director of research for market research company Parks Associates, Wang oversees the company’s mobility and apps research and is founder and lead analyst of Parks’ digital health research program.
We asked Wang, who is slated to be the keynote speaker at HHTN’s Home Health Technology Summit March 26-28 in New Orleans, to talk about his research and how technology is changing the world of home health care.
HHTN: What does your latest research into mobile technology and apps show for home health care?
Wang: From a consumer perspective, the use of apps for personal fitness and wellness is on the rise, and I expect demand for mobile devices and apps that can benefit their medical care will increase. The questions and needs of consumers will prompt care providers to come up with more consumer-friendly, but also data integrity protected, solutions. Innovators like CaptureProof are tapping this crossover opportunity precisely.
HHTN: What are some emerging technologies that may have the biggest impact on home health care?
Wang: Home health monitoring technology will become more powerful, yet at a lower cost and more easy to use. An example is TytoCare’s recent partnership with American Well, which enables doctors to check on patients remotely by using a health monitoring kit that can be easily delivered to consumers’ home; another area of particular interest is virtual care enabled by technology for the benefit of family caregivers.
HHTN: Are technology developments outpacing users’ abilities?
Wang: I am not too concerned about that because every new technology outpaces user abilities in its early days. It is the progression and adaption of technology to eventually meet the needs of the consumer majority that really matters. In the health care space, that cycle takes much longer than other industries because health care is mostly business-to-business-to-consumer, whereas others are mostly business-to-consumer. It is imperative for care providers, insurers and regulatory bodies to put patient-centered care as their core mission and shorten the technology development cycle to remove political, regulatory and financial barriers.
HHTN: Do you think the mobile app space needs more guidelines and direction?
Wang: The mobile app space is no longer unchartered territory because serious money is flowing in and care providers’ attitudes towards mobile apps has shifted from “It is a consumer thing” to “We ought to invest in it because it has real benefit to us clinically and business-wise.” The current guidelines and regulations from the app industry itself and regulatory bodies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are adequate and not too excessive, in my opinion. App developers have also learned from their experience the balance between innovation and respect to established care practices. This dynamic is conducive to the healthy growth of the mobile health app market.