Transmit the blood sugar results from a digital glucose monitor. Snap a photo of breakfast to capture its calories. Upload your latest weight reading and number of steps walked. Once done, get an instant fitness report via your tablet. No, this isn't a scenario from Doctor Who. It's a reality for an increasing number of healthcare consumers.
A radical reshaping is taking place of how individuals interact with the U.S. healthcare system, thanks to a proliferation of technology advances, such as wearable activity monitors like Fitbit and Jawbone, at-home medical devices such as glucose and blood pressure monitors and mobile transmission of all types of consumer and business data. These interactions, referred to as "connected health," often are touted as the tonic for achieving healthcare's triple aim: reduced cost, improved quality of care and enhanced patient experiences as consumers take more responsibility for their care.
It would be a mistake, however, to focus only on consumers' self-directed interactions with these powerful and smart devices. The bigger and more important story is told by the vast volumes of data that healthcare consumers are generating with their wearable devices, smartphones, apps, Web searches and more. We call these personal and persistent collections of data "Code Halos."1
So far, much of the market is overlooking the essential processes of analyzing a patient's Code Halo to uncover hidden insights and meaning and then acting on those findings with real-time, individualized responses. Yet these data-fueled interactions are necessary for the industry to achieve its goals, as these engagements will encourage individuals to adopt and maintain more effective health practices, whether to sustain their health and engage in preventive care or better manage a chronic condition.