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Rethinking access in the era of connected health

January 02, 2020 / KEVIN VIGILANTE

For over two thousand years patients and physicians have come together in the context of “the visit”. During this physical encounter, information is shared that leads to a diagnosis or therapy. Since antiquity, the history and physical exam have been the primary source of relevant information, and the physician often came to the patient. In the modern era images, laboratory tests, and other technologies have broadened the information sources, and it has become more common for the patient to visit the physician. But in either case, access has been defined as the ability to have a physical encounter between a patient and a provider. However connected care—the use of telehealth, wearable sensors, mobile applications and other internet-connected medical devices—is rapidly changing how diagnostic and therapeutic information is shared. Through connected care, providers can monitor patients and communicate with patients from remote locations, and on a nearly continuous basis. Feedback from these devices can also help patients more actively engage in their own health care.