Facebook-like app might be start of patient connectivity revolution

4 minute read

A smartphone app launched today could herald the long-awaited start of the connected-patient revolution


The launch of a relatively simple-looking patient app by Precedence Health Carecould be the start of the connected-patient revolution that will fundamentally alter the way medicine is practised in Australia.

Called MediTracker, the smartphone app can connect, in a Facebook-like manner, a patient with their GP, and all surrounding allied-health professionals, in real time.

It can provide patients in Australia, for the first time, with a live and mobile medical record, and a means to manage most points of their clinical care in the one place.

The app has been specifically developed by Precedence to help manage chronic health conditions in patients. It has been designed around the patient-centric medical homes model.

But the likely utility of the app to patients may make it the “universal patient app”, in which case, it could develop into the major distribution hub for all patient information in the country.

The app will have an open application programming interface so other emerging, connected-health technologies, such as health-appointment engines, mobile telehealth applications, and so on, can simply write themselves onto the MediTracker platform.

The app, which has been endorsed by the RACGP, does not retrieve GP notes, documents or records which have been marked confidential. Revenue will come from patients who will only be asked to pay $5.99 per year for the app.

The app is the brainchild of Professor Michael Georgeff, who for the last 10 years has been focused on practical ways to improve population health.

Professor Georgeff has been credited with creating a new paradigm for the way computer systems are built and operated, known as adaptive agents, i.e. computers with set goals and a flexible approach to achieving them. Once given a goal, an agent works out how to achieve an objective without being told.

One of his AI apps was used on the 1997 space shuttle mission.

MediTracker is part of cdmNet, a powerful web-based service that provides a simple way for health carers and patients to monitor and support their health and which is currently linking over 90,000 chronically ill patients and 25,000 care providers. Precedence developed both cdmNet and Meditracker under Professor Georgeff, who is CEO of the group.

On the surface, the app seems relatively simply. But the cloud network supporting the app, and all the functionality that has been developed to make it simple and user friendly, is complex, and has been a long time coming.

The key is that the app talks directly to nearly all the GP desktop patient-management systems, live, through the web. When a GP makes any relevant adjustment to a patient record on their patient management system, that system polls the web and uploads the changes to the Precedence cloud network. The whole process is secure on mulitple levels. Only after patients  authorisation can information be accessed and shared and then only on the approved network of that patient.

For a patient to use the app, their practice will need to agree to use it. When a practice agrees to use the app, all of the patients in that practice are automatically cleared to use the app if those patients authorise the app.

The app will have a medication record sorted by date, a health summary, which can include far more than the My Health Record, including fields for things such as blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol and more.

The app will also talk to Google Fit and Apple Health, and their ecosystem of digital devices and wearables. If the patient chooses, they can authorise this data to be automatically shared with their care team.

Such functionality may fundamentally alter the way all doctors practice by being able to monitor patient data off site. In some chronic health fields, specialists will suddenly have access to far more reliable real time data on their patients.

MediTracker is initially being rolled out through the IPN network, but given MediTracker talks to all the major patient management systems it feels like it won’t be long before the other corporates hop on board.

Then it seems likely that the spread of the app will be significantly patient driven. Practices which don’t offer the app might lose some of their patients to those that do.

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