d.health Exclusive Interview: Joseph Kvedar MD
Vice President, Connected Health, Partners Healthcare
What should be the Top 3 Aging Priorities for the New Administration?
Extending the health span must be the number one priority. What’s needed is an aggressive, concerted effort to prevent or significantly postpone the lifestyle related chronic diseases (obesity, diabetes, heart disease and many forms of cancer) that can take the joy out of living an extended lifespan. As the population ages, there is a dire need to develop strategies and technologies to preserve brain health and treat and ultimately prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Within the next decade, the health care system will be overwhelmed by growing numbers of older people at the same time it will be experiencing a shortage of doctors and other medical personnel. It is imperative that we develop technologies that move beyond the conventional one to one care delivery to extend the reach of the healthcare system.
In 2005, you coined the term Connected Health. How did that come about?
We were looking for a way to better reflect the broad range of our work at Partners HealthCare, including telehealth, remote care and disease and lifestyle management. We considered a number of ideas, but the term “connected health” most accurately describes the opportunities for technology-enabled care programs and the potential for new strategies in healthcare delivery. I’m delighted that, over 10 years later, connected health has become a widely accepted and utilized term that still captures the essence of technology-enabled health and wellness.
Tell us about your new book. When is it coming out? Where can we get it?
After publishing The Internet of Healthy Things a little over a year ago, I was so pleased at the positive response, we felt it was time to consider a second book. And, the topic of healthy aging is of growing importance in this country, and around the world. This book is a very important opportunity for us to reframe how we use technology as we grow older. And, I’m excited to be working with my good friend and colleague, Charlotte Yeh, medical director at AARP. She’s a dynamo and bringing great perspective to the book. Our plan is to publish this book in October, at the next Connected Health Conference. We’ll have the book available at the Conference, and like The Internet of Healthy Things, it will also be available on Amazon.
What do you see as the biggest opportunity to improve healthcare for Aging Americans?
The Internet of Healthy Things (IoHT) is a transformative tool to change the paradigm for healthcare delivery. Through the use of smart, seamless and intuitive technologies, we can build a patient-centric system that operates for the convenience of the patient. The IoHT enables us to extend health into the home as much as possible, eliminating unnecessary appointments and procedures that are not only costly to the system, but force older adults to spend much of their time sitting in doctor’s waiting rooms.
Why are you participating in the d.health Summit 2017?
This is an important forum for the exchange ideas, inspiration and opportunities to create disruptive technologies that can the lives of our aging population. From a healthcare perspective, this is a critical challenge to effectively care for and empower patients as they age, provide the right tools and resources, and do so efficiently. From a connected health perspective, the opportunities to impact this population is limitless! And, aging well is a topic we should all be interested it! Healthy longevity and the use of connected health tools is a topic that I am quite focused on right now, as I write my next book on ‘The New Mobile Age.’ I’m greatly looking forward to the Summit, to learn, discuss and expand our collective knowledge on the subject.
Aging Priorities for the New Administration: Advancing Policy for Meaningful Change
Joseph Kvedar MD
Vice President, Connected Health
Dr. Kvedar is creating a new model of healthcare delivery, developing innovative strategies to move care from the hospital or doctor’s office into the day-to-day lives of patients. He is the author of The Internet of Healthy Things, describing how real-time biometric data can change behavior and improve health. Under Dr. Kvedar’s two decades of leadership, Partners Connected Health has launched a number of innovative mobile health programs, virtual care initiatives and clinical research programs.