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Emily Seto Part 4, The Future of mHealth Technology

In part 4 of this Exclusive Interview, Dr. Emily Seto talks with Diabetes in Control Publisher Steve Freed during the ADA meeting in San Diego, CA about the future of mobile health technology and coming up with new ideas.

Emily Seto, PhD, PEM is an Assistant Professor and Lead for the health informatics programs at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto.

Transcript of this video segment:

Steve Freed: How do you find this technology is changing into the future? I mean next year when you come here, and you call a cab, it’ll pull up and there won’t be a driver in it, but there will be an announcement, “Hello,” and they will announce your name, and say, “Thank you, you look great today, where would you like to go?” If that was to happen today would you get in that car?

Emily Seto: (Laughs) Would I get in that car? Probably not today because I do not think it is ready yet and I think that’s the case with some of our mHealth technologies. Not everything is created equally and there are a lot of technologies that are just not ready for primetime yet. So there are lots of talks about contact lenses that will get your blood sugars or watches that will accurately get your blood sugars. They’re not quite ready for primetime but I think that, certainly, the research is kind of advancing that area. You are going to see a lot more wearable technology and even implanted technologies, like for example, the artificial pancreas; it’s coming. So it’s not that far that we’re going to have implanted technologies and also, potentially looking at continuous glucose monitoring and using a cell phone as the brains to control the dose of insulin you’re going to get, those kind of closed loop systems I think are coming in the future and we’re going to see a lot more of that. We’re also going to see smart technology in homes. So things that you won’t even notice, like stepping into your washroom and you’ll be taking your weight, so that sort of thing. There is a lot of embedded technologies into homes that I think will be coming up in the future.

Steve Freed: So how do you determine what’s next? So you sit around a table and you discuss, “What are we going to do next? What is our next project?” You probably have a list of 10 or 20 things that you want to accomplish. What are some of those things that you are looking at into the future?

Emily Seto: So I think right now, obviously, we want to do something that is impactful and I think, at least in my area, what I’m interested right now in doing is targeting patients who have those multiple chronic conditions. I think those are the people, for sure, actually, who are taxing the healthcare system; they are the ones who are getting re-hospitalized over and over again – several times a month potentially, and so, I’m interested in helping that population, because again, I think they’re in the great need. So we have a great project that’s coming out that I’m very excited about looking at how we can get our platform to be truly useful in terms of people with multiple conditions, including mental health issues. So if they have depression or anxiety, which is often the case when you are very sick, how do we support them in a holistic-type-of-way on one platform, and looking at how we integrate that into our healthcare system because that’s the trick – it’s really hard to get our technology in place so that it is meaningfully used by the patients but also with the clinicians. It has to work within their workflow and it also has to not take too much of their time – there has to be a benefit to the providers or else they’re just not going to adopt technology as well.

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