What it is: Deloitte predicts digitally connected health treatment will be a normal part of healthcare within a decade.
Anyone remember the old days before the Internet when online services were the only reliable way to connect with other people? The trouble was that there were so many online services that they couldn’t connect with each other. That’s essentially the problem today with health records with everyone following different standards and no standards making it easy to share data with other standards.
The lack of standards means that data gets lost or ignored. Missing data means less than optimal knowledge about a patient, which could prove fatal. That’s why the medical world wants to move to a digital standard but with so many standards to choose from, there’s no compelling reason for any single standard to stand out. Until, of course, Apple appeared.
Given the popularity of the iPhone, Apple can help define a health record standard that makes it easy for people to securely store and share their medical data with medical personnel. with Apple’s focus on privacy and security, Apple’s health care standard offers compelling advantages that other standards lack. That means in the future, health records may get digitized and securely stored and shared with health care professionals.
The immediate problem with digital health records is security and privacy. Without proper security, hackers could invade people’s privacy. The punishment for stealing and revealing health records might not seem that important, but it’s essentially violating a personal part of a person. Although no security can be 100% effective, Apple’s iPhone is at least far more secure than Android. Yet to succeed, standard digital health records will need to be shared among all types of devices, which means less security and greater threats of privacy loss. Today’s lack of health care data standards dramatically increases privacy and security at the cost of updated information.
Ultimately the question is whether shared health records will be worth the risk of privacy loss. For some people, the answer will be yes but to others, the answer will be no. Although Deloitte predicts health care data will be digitized within a decade, don’t expect this process to arrive without lots of lost, stolen, and misinterpreted data. Digital health records aren’t perfect but they’re far more useful than today’s hodge-lodge system of storing and sharing medical information. The only question is whether the advantage of sharing data will be worth the price of privacy loss.