Self-tracker – ideal health care customer?
Could a physician treat me better by making use of my self-tracking data?
“At least the physician should know what the patient is tracking. It is true that people seek medical attention due to abnormalities reported by their smart devices, such as a high heart rate.”
Self-trackers can be seen as ideal health care customers, if self-tracking makes them assume more responsibility for their own health and disease prevention. In the future, more and more health care customers will give health care professionals access to their self-tracking data. This is already being prepared in the Terveyskylpylä specialised health care portal by enabling the transfer of data from specific devices. Primary health care, on the other hand, has witnessed weight management coaching that makes use of self-tracking data on customers’ step counts, sleep and weight.
In many diseases, at-home measurements such as ECG and sleep recordings, blood pressure measurements and peak flow tests for patients with asthma have been in use for a long time already. Today’s remote measurement applications also send reminders to patients and transfer the results directly to the clinic.
“In people with diabetes, we are seeing a shift from blood glucose tests to implanted tissue glucose sensors that provide real-time information. There are already visions of automated dosing of insulin on the basis of sensor data. In other words, a combination of measurement and treatment,” Tikkanen says.
“At-home monitoring provides long-term data on health, which isn’t necessarily possible to get during a one-time measurement in a hospital. There is plenty of potential in this field, and new, increasingly sophisticated measurement methods can become available for at-home diagnostics of neurological disorders, for example.”
However, Tikkanen emphasises that new health technology solutions have a long road ahead of them before they end up in clinical use.
“These new solutions need to prove that they reliably and safely measure what they are supposed to measure, and that their costs to patients and health care systems aren’t greater than their benefits.”