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May 3, 2017

Defining personal health is needed to make its impact bigger

Trends such as consumerization of health are supported more and more by technological advances and health innovation trends. This intersection of technology and health is now really staring to have a real impact, providing benefits both to patients, their caretakers end loved ones, or so Patty Mechael believes.

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According to the Executive Vice President of the Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHAlliance), Mechael sees a worldwide push towards the consumerization of health, and the desire of people to be connected and stay connected to their loved ones, support systems and, increasingly, to their healthcare providers.  Simultaneously, technology and health innovation trends move towards greater support personalization that are empowering consumers and enabling an individualized approach to health and wellness.

‘For the past twenty years, my career has focused on the intersection of technology and global health, Mechael writes in a blogpost on PCHAlliance. ‘It is a dynamic field, about which I am deeply passionate, that is now providing real impact and benefits in the lives of people every day.  It is also the vision of the Personal Connected Health Alliance — better health and wellbeing for all through increased personal engagement and connectivity, as well as improved care delivery enabled by technology.

What is personal health

Since Mechael joined PCHAlliance as executive vice president, one of the first objectives the organization had, was to define and bring consensus around the term personal connected health, as a starting point for building a community, developing evidence and promoting innovation.

For the past year, PCHAlliance engaged with more than 50 thought leaders from around the world, to gain their perspective and vision for the future of this new field. Through this process, several themes emerged, as well as a better understanding of the driving forces propelling the growth of personal connected health.

Mechael: ‘What we learned was both aspirational and pragmatic, and provided the guideposts and a framework to create a cohesive view of the field. Their input touched upon a broad range of areas — from personal engagement with one’s own health, policy on cybersecurity, privacy and protection, and regulatory frameworks for devices and technology, to reimbursement and validation of new research methodologies.  

Ongoing effort

Defining personal connected health will remain an ongoing effort, growing, adapting and learning right along with the evolution of the field. Success will be measured in several ways, including the adoption and endorsement of personal connected health tools and services by healthcare providers and payers, achievement of improved health outcomes and efficiencies, patient and consumer satisfaction, and, ultimately, a frictionless approach to health and wellness.

One result PCHAlliance has to show for, is a first report that includes a working definition of personal connected health, its scope, key stakeholder groups, unrealized potential and persistent challenges and opportunities. ‘Our ongoing work will further help to inform our understanding of this emerging and rapidly advancing movement towards ubiquitous personalized health and wellness. You can read more in our current publication, What is Personal Connected Health? An Ecosystem’s Perspective Defining Personal Connected Health.’

About the PCHAlliance

The Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHAlliance) aims to make health and wellness an effortless part of daily life. The PCHAlliance, a non-profit organization formed by HIMSS, believes that health is personal and extends beyond healthcare. The PCHAlliance mobilizes a coalition of stakeholders to realize the full potential of personal connected health. PCHAlliance members are a vibrant ecosystem of technology and life sciences industry icons and innovative, early stage companies along with governments, academic institutions, and associations from around the world.

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