Executive Director, Mindwave Ventures
Chief Design Officer, Mindwave Ventures
Following on from the rapid digitisation of healthcare in the past few months, are we ready for the next stage in personalised health?
When it comes to gaming, it’s all about user experience. This got computer game development executive Kumar Jacob, thinking: “What would happen if we looked at healthcare in the same way?”
The result was Mindwave Ventures, which Jacob set up in 2014 to harness digital tech within the health sector. From digital track and trace systems to the use of artificial intelligence to detect cancer, tech is already part of our healthcare experience. However, Jacob and his team are developing applications that can be used much closer to home with patients’ needs at the heart.
Small innovations; big impact
“The word ‘innovation’ can often be unhelpful, because we presume innovations have to be huge developments. But it’s often the small changes that can make the biggest impact,” explains Sarah Welton, Mindwave’s Chief Design Officer. A case in point is the introduction of online access to appointment details and clinic letters, which have helped to reduce missed appointments by a significant number.
Helping medical teams communicate through an app
It’s easy to see the gaps in sharing patient information in the system. For example, a maternity team may not know that a patient they’re caring for has a condition such as bipolar disorder – even though this would impact the support they provide – because clinical information is often kept by separate teams.
Mindwave wants to help address issues like this by creating digital front doors to empower patients, carers and clinicians alike to access the information they need, when they need it, in one simple app. By integrating and streamlining complex healthcare pathways, multiple, small innovations will have a cumulative impact.
“We’ve undertaken discovery work with more than a thousand patients, clinicians, researchers and carers to find out what they really want,” confirms Welton.
Personal health records have applications across the board, particularly within multi-disciplinary care settings. Mindwave has already developed a tool to help patients with ADHD and their parents to track medication and behaviour, and coordinate care. They’ve also designed and built Citizen Portals, which act as a single point of contact for all health and wellbeing needs for patients in a number of regions.
We’ve undertaken discovery work with more than a thousand patients, clinicians, researchers and carers to find out what they really want,”
In-app algorithms could potentially predict patients’ needs
The power of the applications doesn’t end there though. The tech that gives computer games the knack of knowing what you’ll do next can also be harnessed to monitor patterns in a patient’s health and behaviour. This, in turn, can be used to help predict when intervention is needed.
“We’re looking at how we can analyse what people search for [online] and there’s also evidence that your language changes when you’re experiencing depression. These are all things that can be used to predict a crisis and avert it,” confirms Welton.
We’re already experiencing a digital transition in the way we interact with healthcare services and, as technology develops, this is only going to increase. Within the post-COVID-19 era, our own smartphones could become key in our ongoing health and wellbeing.