“Connected care” refers to a large and growing portfolio of digital tools, from video consultations with psychiatrists to in-home sensors passively detecting when a senior falls to devices that measure diabetics’ blood glucose and send messages to their families’ or doctors’ smartphones when intervention might be needed.
One very valuable service is telehealth, whereby physicians use email, phone, text, or video for consultations, reducing the need for time-consuming in-office visits. The benefit of this is illustrated by the story of Felipe Perez, a patient of the Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group in San Diego County, who used to have to take a five-hour long bus and trolley trip to get to his appointments.
However, we should not fall into the trap of all-or-nothing thinking, expecting patients only to see their doctors either in the office or remotely. With a little creativity, we can envision mobile health technology leading to the restoration of an almost forgotten medical tradition: The house call. Imagine the connected doctor travelling to patients as needed, with a portfolio of cloud-enabled diagnostic, therapeutic, and decision-support tools at her disposal.