TEDxMaastricht: Is there a mobile future for Healthcare?

The healthcare market is on the brink of major changes. Costs rise and budgets are cut off. Our society is ageing, so we need more care. But we face a world with less caregivers. How do we solve that? 

With new technology, patients get more knowledgeable and aware. Hospitals face technological developments that can make practices easier, but for some also more difficult. How can we best utilize new technological developments for healthcare? And how will it change the culture, awareness and habits of both patients and doctors? That was the topic of TEDx Maastricht, the Future of Healthcare, about motivation and inspiration that is drastically needed in this changing market. Marelle and I joined to gain inspiration from experts and to learn about the advancements in Healthcare.

You put one room full of healthcare fanatics, 28 speakers, 1 camera; and immediately a lot of energy spreads around. It reminded me of those AIESEC conferences we had back in the days. Not talking about what we are doing, but why we do what we do? Why does entrepreneurship solve problems in healthcare (Talk of Naveen Jain) How can hospitals innovate to deliver the best and transparent care in the future? How do we keep our specialists motivated, and how can we inform patients best about their own diseases and treatment? How can they be given a central role and be empowered? 

Although speakers were picked from various fields of industry, young and old, from within the hospital and outside, nationally and internationally, the main messages pointed to the same direction. Patients become increasingly aware (Patient 2.0). We are moving towards a more participatory healthcare state. In hospitals both patients and specialists should be empowered with (self-) monitoring tools.

So how do we move forward? We started thinking ourselves on opportunities for innovation: Mobile Solutions in Healthcare! What do you think solves the puzzle? 

Three hints that help you think about mobile solutions:

(1) Think from a mobile patient point of view – Imagine you are a patient, walking in the hospital with many questions, many unknowns. Where is the doc? The toilet? Am I in time? Will I not forget to ask the right questions? Where is the Oncology department? Do I need to bring any ID? What if…?  Many of these questions can be solved. Most of the patients today are carrying mobile devices with access to the Internet, anywhere, anytime and anyplace. Think about location awareness, your agenda, your contact lists, your tasks.  You can probably imagine several solutions that would be convenient.

(2) Who is the user? – Who is going to use your solution? Is there a real problem or are you creating a great solution that your target group does not need. Think carefully about the patients you want to target.  Are they really helped? Besides, in healthcare there are many stakeholders who can be users: doctors, patients (in – and outside the hospital), nurses, researchers, pharmacists, and so on.

(3) Engage users – A nice thing about Apps is that you can easily download new stuff. But how many Apps do you actually use 2 weeks later? Which Apps really make your life more comfortable? Quick fixes are often proposed. But can you manage to keep your patients engaged on your platform for a longer term? Only such solutions, interactive and useful, solve issues in the long run.

Thanks to the TEDx Maastricht team for making us aware there is still a lot of work that to be done in the Healthcare industry. Potential for innovation targeting various stakeholders. Let’s put that into practice to create lasting solutions.