Jérôme Stevens, founder and CEO of Direct Medica*, spoke at a panel discussion held on June 15 by Webhelp at VivaTech. He answered three questions about the digital innovations that are impacting the medical sector.
What have been the main advances in digital technology in the healthcare sector?
Digital technologies have developed significantly in the health field. For example, GAFA’s highly publicised and controversial commitment to this sector. To summarise, I would say that there have been three major events which have changed the way we take care of patients at a distance:
- The Shared Medical Record (DMP), or the health cloud. At the time when Direct Medica was established, it was difficult to imagine that a hospital doctor, a general practitioner, a pharmacist and a nurse, could simultaneously and remotely access the data of the same patient. This is now possible, and this “shared medical record” contributes to the optimisation of the care path in a strategy of increased partnership between the city and the hospital.
- Connected health objects. Historically, continuous monitoring of patient vitals was only possible in the resuscitation unit. Today, connected objects allow patients to be monitored at home or while going about their daily activities, providing caregivers with valuable health data in real-life conditions and offering patients greater freedom.
- Health data analysis algorithms. The development of telemedicine and e-health tools has resulted in an exponential increase in patient data, the use of which requires sophisticated medical algorithms.
How can the customer experience be improved by AI? How do you use it at Direct Medica?
In the health field, we talk about the “patient journey”! We have two examples at Direct Medica that demonstrate our use of AI:
- Patient Risk Assessment Application: For Mutuelle Santé, several questionnaires completed online by a member allow our algorithm to select from 18 different coaching paths, finding the most effective by involving our nurses, tobacco experts, dieticians, psychologists or sports coaches.
- Predictive oncology algorithm: For prostate cancer, we have developed a predictive algorithm that analyses patient data on a tablet, with the nurse on the phone, via connected objects and the server in our biology laboratory, to identify patients at risk who need to be reviewed in emergency consultation in anticipation of a complication. With this system we can reduce complications and improve patient survival by up to 75%. These results have been published.
How do you see the future of patient experience?
Paradoxically, I imagine the growing development of autonomous technological solutions leading to a re-development of the human being.
Autonomous solutions for telemedicine: There is increasing development of digital solutions for self-evaluation (patient reported outcome) which, coupled with connected objects and interpretation algorithms, will overhaul patient support. Six months ago, an article in the Harvard Business Review anticipated that in the near future, doctors will disappear and medical AI tools will become dominant, leading to digitally optimised, but dehumanised, medicine.
Listening to patients is a key factor in satisfaction: At Direct Medica, we are investing heavily in technology solutions. But I would like to conclude by paying tribute to our nurses, who, every day, work with more than 100,000 patients. In satisfaction surveys, patients talk about nurses who listen to them with patience, compassion and empathy. This human relationship is by far the first lever of satisfaction for patients. In a future dedicated to “all digital”, there still is no robot that will replace our nurses.
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*Direct Medica joined the Webhelp Groupe in June 2017. Founded in 2000 by Jean-Christian Kipp, Sophie Kerob and Jerôme Stevens, Direct Medica is the French leader in multichannel relationships between healthcare players (patients, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals , Mutuals, institutions and public authorities). Direct Medica operates mainly in three sectors: Medication Sales (drug sales to 22,000 pharmacists); Medication Promotion (the promotion of medicines to approximately 60,000 doctors); Care Management (patient programmes and regulatory activities, such as Tobacco Info Services and the InfoMed medication helpline). See also: Webhelp Acquires Direct Medica (June 9, 2017)