This is the transcript of the podcast interview I did with Joseph Kvedar, from Partners Center for Connected Health. Coincidentally this past Tuesday in NYC, the Center, along with Continue Health Alliance and others, sponsored a meeting about the use of monitoring devices as part of a general strategy by leading edge employers to try to do something about the management of the chronically ill. There’ll be more from me about that later.
Matthew Holt: Hi, this is Matthew Holt with The Health Care Blog, and I am doing another podcast. If you are one of those people who thinks that we have too much medical technology and too many medical facilities in America–I am deep in the belly of the beast. Sitting in the middle of the academic medical center triangle of Boston speaking with Joseph Kvedar. Joseph is the director of The Center for Connected Health. He also, for those of you who are paying careful attention, wrote an article in The Health Care Blog about Connected Health, just, I think, a week-and-a-half ago. Joseph, first off thank you very much for hosting me in your office.
Joseph Kvedar: Delighted to be with you, Matthew.
Matthew: You are also the Vice-chair and the Associate Professor of the Residency Program in the Department of Dermatology, so obviously you have a medical background. You know, that it’s not unusual in the AMC for somebody who is an academic physician to be also prodding around in another area. This center was, until recently, called The Center for Telemedicine.
Matthew: Also it is an integral part of Partners, what you are doing in terms of outreach into the community with technology. Why the change to Connected Health?
Joseph: Well, we felt that most of what we are doing these days is not captured by what people traditionally think of when they use the word "telemedicine." I have spent a lot of in time in meetings over the last few years explaining that. So it just made sense for us to adopt a moniker that was a bit more fresh, a bit more 21st century, and could really allow us to have people engage with us and our vision in a more effective way.
Matthew: That makes a lot of sense. My friends at Cisco think that they invented the term and that the NHS and everyone else is copying them. But the concept around connection and health seems to be really taking off. You can guess if that is a good thing or a bad thing, but I think it underscores a lot of what we are talking about. Now some of the things you brought up in the brief piece you wrote for The Health Care Blog I think are very interesting. Just capture, for those people who haven’t read it, the flavor of what you think the possibility of change that this kind of technology can bring.
Joseph: Let’s use the example of diabetes. So today your average diabetic often views their condition as somewhat of puzzlement, somewhat of an accident. They may or may not understand the relationship between diet, exercise, and glucose. They may or may not understand how changing their activity level can help their condition. They are really left with occasional, brief, hurried visits to their doctor, and a lot of instructions, and often very little in the way of a true relationship or connection with healthcare.Now picture the same individual with a lot of physiologic feedback. Let’s say an accurate step count, once or twice daily a log of their glucose readings that is contextualized with their diet and their activity, and a medication reminder system. And I think that is, for us, all of that is what we mean by "connected health."