MedTechVision 2014 Patient Keynote: Part Two

By Lisa Maki,


Yesterday, in Part One of my Patient Keynote from the MedtechWomen conference, I shared my experience as a spinal injury patient and how that inspired me to start PokitDok.  I noted all the frustrations I had as a patient, especially as one who is fluent in the possibilities of technology.

Today, in Part Two, I share how the health industry can and is improving the patient experience.  As patients become more involved in their care, they'll increasingly want access to the information that enables them to make smart decisions.  Here at PokitDok, my team and I are working to connect healthcare data and enable real-time access to empower consumers.  We're part of a bigger wave of companies all pushing the possibilities of healthcare to improve the consumer experience.  I believe the time and technology is right for transformation.


Are We There Yet?

What I wanted from the health industry when I was struggling with my back was the same level of service I’ve come to expect from any industry.  When healthcare was essentially free, people like me were willing to be kept in the dark, not knowing the full extent of our choices or their cost. But, now that it’s our own money, not only do we expect to know, we expect to be pursued.  We want the same transparency and convenience that we have shopping on Amazon or Zappos and I want to feel like an opportunity.

This may sound crazy to you and up until recently, it has been easy to dismiss someone like me as an anomaly, an educated consumer that doesn’t reflect the average patient who’d rather be told what to do because healthcare is complicated and scary. But, now that people like me are paying for healthcare out of our own pockets, we’re beginning to demand the same simple messaging and customer service we get from other complex industries.


This fact has not been lost on the companies out there that are intimately familiar with consumer behavior and segmentation.  They are already competing for our attention and our business through transparent cost information, simplified product descriptions and service.


They aren’t just designing products that are more efficient; they’re packaging them as affordable, pleasing experiences.

Theranos 2

Conveniently located where we live, work and shop.

Messaged to engage our needs, our emotions and our lifestyle through stories, they're creating visuals using easy-to-understand language.   This isn’t rocket science, this is basic marketing based on effective consumer segmentation.


Yes, we’re there.

 Screen Shot 2021-09-11 at 2.06.47 PM

The computer power to process enough consumer, business and clinical health data required to transparently market and deliver meaningful consumer experiences has existed for a long time.  I like to use this example because I owned that Nokia phone in 1997.   It also shows that, while the computer power was available in 1997, the means to collect consumer data at scale was not in place until 10 years later when Apple released a programmable OS that unified mobile into a platform for products and services across all sensor data.  And we willingly shared our data because companies were delivering value in return--by connecting us to each other, to services like black cars on demand and other forms of value.  Now, with wearables, we have another sensor layer with the means to collect consumer-generated health data.

If Apple has anything to say about it wearables will also soon be programmed via one unified platform. Recently leaked screenshots of the “Healthbook” show that Apple is moving to release the necessary platform, just like they did for the phone.

Google Lens

And Apple is not alone. Taking the wearable one step further, Google’s new contact lens idea suggests, finally, the truly ambient wearable I don’t have to take off in the shower.  These are the efforts, more than electronic medical records or Blue Button, in my honest opinion, that will motivate the average consumer to not just buy wearables but consistently use them to both track and share their data in real time.  I can hear the HIPAA comments now but I maintain that these consumer-focused platforms will succeed and ultimately supplant others' means of recording patient data, because they’ll make it cool, easy, ambient, open and programmable for new products and business models.  You won’t have to convince consumers to share their data with you; they will demand to share it for access to sophisticated, real time, digital experiences, like I needed, to find a better cure.


So, What’s Standing In The Way?

So what is standing between all of us and delivering those digital experiences today? Welcome to healthcare land.   While clinical data may be undergoing a connected transformation, the means to exchange all that valuable clinical and consumer data for relevant recommendations, engagements and other forms of tangible value, remains largely trapped in flat files and batch processes.  Treatment and service descriptions, qualifications, benefits, claims, pricing and our personal data have remained largely unconnected and if connected, certainly not in real time. This is where my co-founder and I have focused our efforts.

Remember back in the beginning when I told you, as a last resort, I turned to Facebook and was ultimately led to a successful non-surgical option. After six months of searching for a recommendation, the one that helped me came in less than an hour after my request. One possible conclusion we could draw is the answer is crowdsourcing.  And, while I think crowdsourcing experiential information is a really valuable endeavor, the true underlying opportunity is much larger and affects how we design products, marketing campaigns, purchasing, patient engagement, customer service and support.  Facebook worked because I was able to tap a network of people I trust through a platform that is architected to be aware of me and my data.  Admittedly, there are people I’m friends with on Facebook whose healthcare advice I would not take, but overall it is a network of knowledge that is immediately accessible to me, 24/7, on top of a platform that can be programmed to deliver additional products and services relevant to the questions I ask and the data I share.  Everything about Facebook rewards me for sharing and consuming data. It’s up to me to decide what to do with it.

Kodak didn’t miss the digital camera revolution; it still holds some of the most important patents in digital photography. Kodak, got the technology right; it just fundamentally misunderstood the consumer.  Don’t do that.  Expect that if you are creating a technology or a device that will ultimately be used by a person, or on a person, then you must design products that people want to use, connected across all their data including eligibility and benefits.  We now know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that people expect their devices and their data to be connected, convenient, transparent, self aware and real time, not net 90.  These are the requirements for success in our digital world and anyone who does not understand and embrace these requirements will lose.


Open Health Platform

There are new resources available for you to use.  At PokitDok, as I mentioned, we’ve focused on connecting the data and enabling real time services across the business of health.   Our goal is to unify and make programmable the fragmented data that drives the business of healthcare so that tangible value can be offered by you, insurance companies, doctors and employers in exchange for an individual’s data.

We’ve released a public API that allows product developers to connect directly to business processes and data including eligibility, deductibles, claims, benefits and payment.  Using our API, health providers are posting cash prices and enabling payment plans, insurance companies are supporting cash prices lower than the contracted rate, health systems are moving payment and related service recommendations to the front of the transaction to reduce cost to the consumer and revenue cycle risk to the provider.

In order to do this we’re creating the largest graph of connected data and services available for the business of health.  We’re connecting physician data, treatment and service data, insurance data, reimbursement rates, cash price quotes and even CPT codes together with the ability to on-board and connect wearable and device data so engineers, companies and health systems can incorporate these into their products and being able to connect products, services and content to their customers with the same power and sophisticated targeting other industries have enjoyed for a very long time.  We built this because if I’d had it, back in 2010, it would not have taken me 6 months to travel 100 yards in the same hospital to find the right treatment and we want to make sure no one else has to do that again.


The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.

  Tags: Dev, Health Innovation, Healthcare consumerism, Providers

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