Smartphones can be a tool for preventing medical problems and lowering costs

Digital health companies can provide a model for focusing on preventing chronic disease, promoting informed recovery, and educating patients about their overall health indicators.

What if a smartphone could detect your patients’ risk of developing a chronic condition such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke? What if patients could use a smartphone app to initiate a scan that provided direct feedback on a suspicious lesion on their skin? Through an easy-to-use app, suppose your patients could measure their vital signs, track their progress for health and wellness, and easily share the results with providers, all before scheduling an in-person appointment?

Patients’ smartphones could deliver this type of detailed, personalized biometric information to you on demand or continuously throughout the day, reducing the time needed to obtain vitals from patients and better preparing you in advance of each visit, thereby helping streamline your schedule. This type of smartphone-based technology would equip you with a data-driven approach to monitoring and improving your patients’ health.

On a larger scale, digital tools on smartphones can be leveraged as a tangible data source to make predictive analytics an accepted method for early intervention and avoid event-driven care.Underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic and the evolution of remote medicine, the importance of developing accessible solutions has prompted the innovation of on-demand biometric technologies that empower individuals and produce better health outcomes through personalized knowledge and increased transmission of actionable data between patient and physician.

This transformation in health and wellness seeks to address a mountain of health issues stemming from inadequate preventive care and lack of convenient, affordable, and non-intrusive technologies. The current health care model attempts to address a condition when the symptoms become noticeable, painful, or uncontrollable. This often leads to further treatment and patient visits and other costly expenditures for all parties: the insurer, the provider, and the patient.

Digital health companies, when partnered with health care and wellness providers, can provide a model for focusing on preventing chronic disease, promoting informed recovery, and educating patients about their overall health indicators. Individuals can make data-driven decisions and take action when equipped with their personalized, biometric data. With a more robust, up-to-date data record, providers can also begin to develop a comprehensive picture of their patients’ health and better plan for the future.

The U.S. today spends $3.8 trillion annually on health care, more than any other nation in the world. The CDC estimates that 90% of those expenditures are for managing chronic diseases.By 2028, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that these costs will grow to $6.2 trillion, representing 20% of GDP. And as the number of Americans 65 and over grows, Medicare spending is likely to double over the next 10 years relative to the size of the U.S. economy, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Moreover, health care costs are growing faster than other services–at an annual rate of 3.5% per year versus 2.1% per year. Significant drivers of health care spending include more expensive treatments and products, the bureaucracy and complexity of the health system and insurance providers, and consolidations of hospital organizations, among others. The lack of effective, widespread preventive care initiatives may be the reason for poorer health outcomes compared with other countries despite higher spending.

Investors are pouring millions of dollars into digital health solutions as technology providers become more sophisticated in cost-saving monitoring. It pays off as health and wellness industries increasingly focus on digital health, accessibility, and patient-centric care. Smartphone-based scanning technology offers a non-invasive solution that balances ease of use, data security and privacy, and biometric monitoring.

On-demand biometric scanning technology can drive better health outcomes due to its availability, interoperability, and continuous transmission provided directly via a user’s smartphone. Similarly, smartphone-based apps empower individuals to take a more active role in their wellness, resulting in improved preventive care and chronic disease management.

When digital health companies partner with healthcare providers, a powerful ecosystem develops. Real-time, measurable data such as vital signs, personal dimension and composition can be used to identify chronic disease risks. This information can be shared among the various stakeholders invested in a patient’s care. This is the culmination of care we are creating at a time when patients, providers and payers need it the most.

Bosanac is chairman and CEO at Advanced Human Imaging Ltd. AHI partners with health care, wellness-fitness, and insurance companies to provide smartphone biometrics scanning technology services and digital health solutions.