Before we know it, health IT is going to reinvent chronic care monitoring, says Stanford cardiology professor Peter J. Fitzgerald, MD, PhD. Practically everyone now has a smart phone in their pocket and it's only a matter of time before those devices start playing a very significant role in helping patients monitor their health. Speaking at the TCT2011 Conference last week in San Francisco, Fitzgerald explained that a collision is set to occur between "information technology and what we need with respect to our needs in medicine."
Although their are hurdles holding this trend back, the market for heath IT is growing at a quick clip. It is expected to be valued at $10 billion within a matter of several years and is projected to be worth $20 billion by 2025, he said.
One of the concerns of health IT, of course, is security. So what are the risks of storing health data on the cloud? "Once information is into the cloud, the people who are very experienced in designing [cloud computing technology], tell me that the probability of breaking into the cloud is 0.00000000000001—point thirteen zeroes before the one," he says. "So it’s a very secure environment."
So the potential security problem related to health IT data—whether they be CTs or medical records—is not the clould per se. The problem is "the mechanism to get to and fro [the cloud] that is the vulnerability. That is an issue that does need to be solved."
A substantial amount of progress has already been made in terms of security, however. "If I told you eight years ago that you were going to be doing money transfers on your cell phone, you probably wouldn’t have believed that," Fitzgerald says. But times are changing. And, in the future, people will have growing trust for cloud-based health IT.
AI and Data Profiling
Companies like Google and ISPs are already deeply engaged in demographic data analysis. Every single word you type is being observed by them right now. "They are profiling you temporarily and spatially as the person for a given market," Fitzgerald says. " To keep track of that data, they use artificial intelligence algorithms that are "far more sophisticated than the defense department has." Because entities such as Google are less constrained than entities such as the Department of Defense.
Such advanced algorithms can be used to parse health IT data, opening up a whole new realm of possibilities in healthcare. "If you are able to communicate on the phone to a patient or on an iPad, those algorithms can work in reverse to automatically be able to monitor data, look for trends, spit out reports for insurance purposes, monitor medications, monitor trends in medication with GPS following patients at CVSs," Fitzgerald says.
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