Solving the Care Management Conundrum with Internet of Things, Artificial intelligence

Care management’s continuing challenge is patient engagement. Care management organizations and providers can tap into every bit of patient data, bringing it in from multiple sources, but there’s little chance of success when the patient has only a slight interest in participating in the program. In the past, care management programs used infrequent calls from care managers to spur participant change or to evaluate current health conditions. Call frequency depended on the patient’s health and wellness—the worse off the participant, the more calls they received. Even so, the contact was patchy at best.

Artificial intelligence (AI) could be the answer to care management’s ongoing engagement challenges. AI doesn’t need to leave a message if you’re not home because it can be everywhere you are. It doesn’t make contact infrequently because of call-volume quotas; AI can get in touch all the time. When the AI is on your smartphone, it’s always with you. For better or worse, AI never sleeps.

About 77% of Americans have smartphones today; globally there will 6.1 billion smartphones in use by 2020. By 2022, it’s predicted there will be 18 billion connected devices—including wearables, which are often used for health and wellness—via the Internet of Things (IoT).

AI and Home Health

A well-funded Chinese company wants to use “thousands of data points” and AI to provide real-time health details for consumers. While the technology is still a long way from store shelves, the company plans to run all this information through an AI system, which will evaluate the information, provide detail about most aspects of the user’s health and offer suggestions on ways to improve, say, blood pressure or weight.

While rolling this technology out for humans may be a few years away, plants are already reaping the benefits of an AI-powered disease management program.

A recent article published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science offers an exciting perspective on AI. What do plants, AI and care management have in common? Not a lot at first glance. But in the study, scientists created a smartphone app to detect certain diseases or insect infestations on a specific plant. The researchers used images of diseased plants to train the AI to discern one ailment from another. In the end, the AI-enabled app was 98% successful at identifying a certain plant disease.

The availability of smartphones and devices connected to the IoT will continue to grow. That’s a given. To hammer that thought home, take a look at Google’s recent announcement. The company rolled out new smartphones, personal assistants and much more, which use AI.

Envision walking through your home and getting asked by a disembodied voice why you ate that extra donut or failed to exercise. As the AI gets smarter over time and learns your foibles, the reprimands could become more extreme. As data is aggregated, your efforts could be compared to others in real-time via the IoT. Think about being matched to someone down the street who does a better (or worse) job maintaining their health.

AI and IoT technologies can be applied to care management to monitor health and wellness while telling us where to go and how to get there.

The tech to make this happen is almost ready, but are we?
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