Feb 17

“Internet of Me”, anything but average

IOT 1 (1 of 1)My health is unique to me and so should the treatment I receive and any the technology I use to manage my health.  The Internet, social media and smart devices are connecting information and technology in new ways to ensure that I have the right information at the right time for my circumstances from my weather app telling me the temperature in my location to businesses deploying cookies, tracking and targeting algorithms which can be extremely annoying at times. When it comes to our health outcomes we need preventative medicine, health information, disease treatment and wellness activities to be part of a coherent network of activities supported by an equally coherent network of technology, devices, applications and information. Welcome to the Internet of Me.

3 reasons why the time is right for the Internet of Me

  • We as individuals or carers of our family (children and the elderly) are more interested in participating in our care, from understanding treatment options and cost, to improving our wellness and preventing illness.
  • Genetic information about an individual will allow treatment to be tailored specifically for them.
  • The technology is available with digital information stored by my health care providers, pharmacist; wearable devices for monitoring and fitness; and compliance applications.

3 things you will need to address to make the most of this opportunity

  • Combining the information into a coherent network. While a signifant amount of digital data exists about my health, it is still very much siloed in each health care provider’s system with occasionally summary data shared between them and with me. This data is rarely connected to my preventive health and wellness needs or treatment applications.
  • When tailoring the data to be relevant to me, I want to make sure that it matches my appetite for data security and privacy. Data security and privacy policies need to move from one size fits all to configurable based on personal preferences.
  • As a consumer I need to make sure I have a way of ensuring that the information I am using is trusted medical advice not just sponsored content. This can be via association with accredited institutions or having a review system similar to Tripadvisor.

It is important that the “internet of me” is not confused with a national electronic health record which aims to provide a lifetime record of my interaction with health care providers. The “Internet of me’’ will collect data about me from a range of settings and devices, ANALYZE IT , and recommend courses of action, options or simply provide encouragement when it tracks my great progress.

For this to work a new model is needed which shifts the ownership and control of data, privacy and security back to me. When I have all my data together in one place the benefits are obvious and immediate. This is also unlikely to be ever achieved by a single third party, and I am not convinced I would want them to be able to do this either.  I want to be able to control what data I collect and who is allowed to access and use this complete data based on what is in it for me. Health care businesses need to see that this alternative model is better for them too. They can then use it to personalise their treatment and services to obtain better outcomes.

Australian-based digital health firm Health& has gone live with an application to help consumers to take control of their health and their health information. The personal health record and preventative algorithm component of its consumer health portal, partners with IBM Watson to power its natural language processing capabilities and with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) to provide that element of trust. While it is not a complete version of the “the Internet of Me” the addition of analytic power and trust elements is certainly a significant step in the right direction.


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