We are on a forced, double time march toward 'population health management,' the new holy grail of the healthcare industry. If you are still walking around thinking you are cool by saying 'big data' in every other sentence to impress people, you are passé and so 2013. Improve your cocktail party standing by dropping some PHM references everywhere. And technology is the key, so if you really want to be hip, find a way to tie the use of mobile technology to population health management, and wa-la, your are almost to being invited to speak somewhere.
I was having coffee the other day with a friend who is a healthcare IT guy. Like migrant farmers following the harvest, he had moved on from installing EHR systems for hospitals to a new firm that builds mobile PHM apps for a very well-known healthcare system.
The stories were interesting and some of the things they can do with a smartphone are just stunning. It turns out that checking Facebook and playing Candy Crush is not their sole function. Who knew?
But have you ever experienced that moment when you wondered if a person's affection for another person had crossed the line into something a little weird?
'We are working on a really cool app,' he began. All trendy PHM solutions are an 'app' and almost all seem to start with diabetics and this one was no different. Since the app was integrated with the electronic record system of the massive healthcare organization, it would know that phone belonged to a person who was a diabetic. And with the app under construction, the person could turn on their camera, scan the horizon with their phone (literally), and the app would light up the nearby restaurants that served healthy food.
I was about halfway into, 'Wow, that is pretty cool' when the 'No, that is creepy' indicator started beeping in my head.
PHM is a big idea that is here to stay, but it is going to lead to a lot of discussions between healthcare policy types that argue this type of intervention is good and civil libertarians that push back on such intrusion.
The line between true love and stalking is not always clear.