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The independent Patient —illustration by TEAMS

The independent patient

TEAMS trend research: Medical 2025 — Part II

Read the first part here, and the third part here

Technology and connected services will enable the patient to take their health into their own hands.

An essential part of living a healthy life is being one with our body. Which includes sensing our bodies signals and knowing how to interpret them. In modern societies, it is hard to live healthy without actively working on a healthy lifestyle; this also applies to medical treatment. A healthy dialogue between a doctor and the patient enables the patient to actively influence the healing process.

Your personal assistant will monitor your vital signs, provide advice on a healthy lifestyle, remind you of preventive check-ups, alert you of critical conditions, order medication and will schedule an appointment at a doctor or specialist office if medical treatment is needed.

In particular, patients with chronic diseases and elderly patients, that need time-consuming and costly treatment will benefit from this development. Patients with chronic diseases often take on an expert role. They have known their body for many years. Self-monitoring will enable them to react even faster to changes in their body and influence their well-being.

Self-monitoring and early-stage diagnostics

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“Technology and connected services around health system” — illustration by TEAMS

An increasing number of vital signs will be measured with less invasive sensor technology and wearable devices will evolve from gadgets to full-scale monitoring devices with professional grade accuracy. With more devices and sensors being able to connect to a smartphone or the internet, we will be able to put collected measurement data in a broader context and will be able to oversee complex correlations. This development will play an important role in the early detection of disorders, treatment of chronical diseases, observation of medication programs or monitoring of elderly patients. Health-apps, wearable devices paired with digital analytic tools will detect changes in the patient’s vital signs to predict future illnesses like heart attacks and alert the patient at earlier, more treatable stages.

Studies show that telemonitoring and the transmission of certain physiologic parameters and symptoms from patients at home to their health care provider was significantly associated with reductions in mortality, ranging from 15 percent to 56 percent relative to traditional care. Due to the aging society and the rising of chronic diseases like diabetes, self-monitoring will play a crucial role in enabling chronic patients an independent life.

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“Health system: Self-monitoring and early-stage diagnostics” — illustration by TEAMS

How can we guarantee the safe and reliable use of self-monitoring devices? How do we visualize and contextualize gathered data to enable patients and doctors to draw the right conclusions? How do we generate trust in new technologies and how do they come into people’s lives? Design will play a crucial role in answering these questions and will eventually decide if those technologies will prevail.

“Patient’s self-care and service can deliver up to EUR 13.2 Billion in Savings in Germany alone.” Mckinsey

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“The independent patient” — illustration by TEAMS

The digitalization of the health care system and telehealth applications will make health-related services more accessible to patients and dramatically reduce costs. Patients will have access to reliable medical support from their home at any time. They will be able to use digital diagnostics tools or contact a doctor via video-chat. This will improve healthcare coverage in rural areas and improve access to specialist treatment and advice. Formerly complicated and bureaucratic processes will be digitalized to improve efficiency, cooperation, transparency and will eventually drive down costs. Digital assistants, medical chatbots or digital platforms will help patients monitor and manage their health, recommend check-up procedures, suggest specialists, schedule appointments, handle administrative tasks or prescription processes and will help users to stay on top of their personal health strategy.

Digitalization will not replace but rather complement the individual treatment and face-to-face contact with a doctor, in order to provide a seamless health care experience.

But despite the favorable forecast, modern telemedicine applications face issues related to quality control, data security and trust, especially in the health care sector where the in-person contact with the patient plays a significant role in a holistic and user-centered treatment process. Designing a personal experience with digital systems and finding the balance between artificial and human-to-human interaction will be the main criteria for developing successful telehealth applications. Therefore the design of those services will redefine and transform the way we interact with, and use health care.

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“Health system: Point of care and access to health care services” — illustration by TEAMS

Point of care and access to health care services

Point-of-care testing or refers to diagnostic examinations that are not carried out in a central laboratory, but in a hospital directly on the ward, in the practice of a practicing physician, or a public pharmacy. In certain situations, such as emergencies, it is also possible to work outside such a facility, for example in a patient’s home or an emergency ambulance. New technical solutions will find early adoption in specialist hospitals with highly specialized and trained personnel. We see these technologies steadily moving closer to the patient. With a broader audience using those technologies, there will be a strong focus on designing products that enable even untrained patients to use those devices safely and reliably.

Design will play an essential role in turning complex technologies into user-friendly products. New product types and services are developed by carefully analyzing user-needs and future use cases so that technological advancements will find broad-adoption in many health sectors.

This is chapter two of three-chapter research that we, at TEAMS Design, conducted to discuss future trends in the health care industry and how design can help to build new possibilities. If you would like to get the complete report or more insights about our research, let’s get in touch!

Direction: Marco Kapetan.

Research & text creation: Damla Başyazıcıoğlu & Kai Willenbrock.

Graphics: Diana Izquierdo.

Research sources:

  • Markus Wild (2018) Point of Care — und weitere Trends im Medical Design
  • CATHERINE STURMAN (2018) Novartis Social Business: Blending profit with purpose.
  • BILL TRIBE AND ERIK BLAZIC, A.T. KEARNEY (2017) Roadmap to a Connected Digital Healthcare Future.
  • Sujan Rajbhandary (2018) BUSINESS VALUATION & FINANCIAL ADVISORY SERVICES Sujan Rajbhandary, CFA Atticus Frank Trends to Watch in the Medical Device Industry in 2018, N.A: N.A.
  • Accenture Consulting (2018) DIGITAL HEALTH TECH VISION 2018 Intelligent Enterprise Unleashed, N.A: N.A.
  • Dana Merchel, Albert Ibragimov, Claudia Krettler, published by Markus Wild (2018) MEDICAL DESIGN TREND UPDATE 2018, N.A: N.A.
  • Stephanie Newkirchen, Christopher B. Harris,Sam Vos, Sarah Danielson, Kathi Phares and Santosh Chavan (2018) EHR convergence and interoperability: A key strategic question for health care providers, Deloitte: N.A.
  • Sonia Marti (2017) Do you know Smart Hospitals?
  • G Eysenbach (2001) What is e-health?, Online: N.A.
  • PwC Health Research Institute (2018) Top health industry issues of 2018 A year for resilience amid uncertainty In, N.A: N.A.

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