Innovation often comes from that light bulb moment, when a vision for the future results in breakthroughs in technology for the common good.

For Apple, one of those milestone moments came from consumer demand to provide health care technology for health-conscious Gen Xers to improve both body and mind. The company rolled out health apps for iPhone, iPad and its popular Apple Watch that monitor fitness levels, and, according to Apple’s thought leader in digital health who spoke at the 2018 EVV Summit, the company soon realized there were unlimited commercial opportunities for digital health partnerships outside its own consumer space.

“The enterprise of health care is enormous, that’s why Apple is here,” she said opening the 2018 EVV Summit joined by Memorial Health System Administrative Director of Telehealth Strategy Bill Manzie with the keynote address, Fireside Chat: Innovations in Digital Health.

The health care industry “should consider EVV a gift,” she said, noting its disruptive technology is the result of a confluence of things similar to what made consumers shift to Apple, another disruptor.

“There will be innovation across the health care continuum. Monitoring and managing treatment through mobility, capturing health care continuously, connecting patient and care team and empowering self-management.”

Enabling a Technology-Based Home Health Care System

The way Apple sees it, EVV is just the first step. Caregivers are coming to the home more regularly as a result of increased demand for real-time services that provide security, access and mobility, she said, comparing the phenomenon to what Uber is doing for the shared ride service industry.

“The revenue stream is getting interesting. The Gen Xers are concerned with their fitness levels. They want to be monitored,” she said. “I see this [industry] exploding.”

Apple sees a need to help people already visiting patients in the home. Changing behaviors is always a challenge, as well as determining what to do with all the data collected.

“[Tellus] is thinking about this, and encouraging this type of thinking,” she said, adding that Apple has partnered with Memorial Health System’s Manzie to explore co-opportunities moving forward.

“We have many different solutions where we use [telehealth] technology,” said Manzie. 

“We have a phone app for 24-hour care. Patients can see a doctor in 7 minutes — you still can’t get into many primary care 

physician’s offices the same day. In under 15 minutes, you’re seeing a physician. You can get prescriptions in a few hours. Treatment starts immediately; no time is wasted. From the hospital perspective, you can remove non-emergency patients from our waiting rooms, 50 to 75 percent of these patients don’t need to be there.”

The Road to Mobilized Recovery

While you can send patients home using different technologies, depending on their condition, and it saves money for the health care systems and the beds they need, telehealth is not an easy road.

“It’s not a sprint, it’s a slow pace,” said Manzie. “There are a lot of rules and regulations in Florida that we will overcome.”

To incentivize patients to take their medications using the system, Apple leadership floated the idea of “gamification,” an idea that garnered support from Manzie.

“Patients are not incentivized by their health unfortunately — let’s change their incentives, rewarding that they take the medication, like a bank of money,” he said. “Mobility at its core will stay the same but the overall use will change for consumers and health managers.”

Manzie believes mobility is going to take off in a big way, but a viable workflow needs to be created where health care is usable: “Part of my strategy and responsibility is to move innovation forward — mobility is the way to do that.”

Moving Toward Real-Time Care

Mark Dillon, founder of Atlanta-based Pulsewrx LLC agrees that mobility is transformative for the future of home health care.

“We will get there and deliver tools unforeseen,” said Dillon, who presented a discussion on the transition to EVV at the EVV Summit on June 1. “We are moving from paper to electronic, weekly to real time, quantity to quality, data to intelligence, care to coordination, and reactive to proactive.”

Dillon said he envisions the “Uberization” of home care, such as real-time health monitoring and status change alerts. He also sees functional applications based on other successful business models that already exist: health education online via Netflix, care selected and scheduled like Open Table, price comparison via Amazon, virtual self-guided care like Angie’s list, experience measures like Yelp, even healthy meals provided by the likes of Blue Apron.

EVV will begin the mobilization of home care, and data will increase visibility, accountability and transparency, according to Dillon, adding that devices and sensors will provide real-time information and machine learning will customize care delivery.

“Coordinated care will be the standard of care, and technology will empower patients,” he said.