A new Amazon for healthcare: Personalized recommendations from health companies

Part of Amazon's success is that the online retailer's algorithms predict what consumers want and need before the consumer even realizes it. By analyzing browsing and buying history, Amazon understands, to a certain degree, the individual consumer to directly tailor product suggestions. Applying this same mechanism to healthcare could be a key for healthcare companies to influence patient choices and, ultimately, change behavior, according to a Harvard Business Review article.

Sam Glick, a partner in Oliver Wyman's Health and Life Sciences practice, wrote the HBR article in which he says behavior change is the ultimate goal for healthcare. "Once that happens, conditions like diabetes might become less prevalent in the population and the quality of people's lives, overall, would be improved," he writes.

Mr. Glick writes about several apps and companies existing today that are already personalized to individual users, like behavioral counseling apps or apps that sync to wearables and other biometric sensors to monitor patients and provide care suggestions.

While such technologies are a move in the right direction, the industry still faces hurdles to achieve a fully personalized digital healthcare experience, such as limited data.

But Mr. Glick remains optimistic. "If the healthcare industry can develop useful and proactive tools, and if it can engender the kind of consumer interest that retailers enjoy today, then not only will improvements in individuals' well-being be attained; the healthcare landscape as a whole will also be profoundly changed," he writes.

More articles on health IT:

Providence notifies 5,400 patients of insider breach
Oregon Health & Science University to pay $2.7M to settle 2013 HIPAA violations
Ultrasound unit thefts breach PHI of 1,100 Kaiser patients

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