Last February, United Kingdom-based software developer Medopad announced it had signed 15 Chinese trade deals. CEO of Medopad Dan Vahdat commented that the new agreements would see the parties “work to improve patient care in China” and their technology used to contribute “towards China’s healthcare reform goals.”
Now, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) has reported that Medopad and its partners will be trialing biometric data monitoring systems in mainland hospitals in China, as early as this year. The system will consist of a “digital platform” that will use wearables to collect data from patients to be shared with healthcare and pharmaceutical professionals, and insurers.
Healthcare monitoring apps
Founded in 2011 by Vahdat and his partner Rich Khatib, both Oxford graduates, Medopad has been tipped by consultancy KPMG to reach a value of more than $1 billion. The company currently offers a variety of healthcare-related technology services including monitoring apps for patients suffering from diseases such as cancer and diabetes as well as an insurance app for reimbursements.
In its announcement of last month, Medopad had listed a project with China Resources “to transform how patients with chronic and high cost diseases are cared for, being deployed in 600 hospitals over five years.” The healthcare technology firm will begin its patient-monitoring trial program this year at 10 hospitals affiliated with Peking University and Capital Medical University.
These pilots schemes will start by monitoring a few hundred patients with Parkinson’s disease. “We try to give eyes to the doctors so they can see what’s happening,” Vahdat told SCMP. “We tend to focus on diseases that are complicated and expensive to treat.”
Collecting data through services
“The data is a gold mine when the sample is large enough, and can be combined with other data such as electronic medical records, clinical trials and insurance and reimbursement data.
Head of Southeast Asia life sciences practice at L.E.K. Consulting Fabio La Mola explained to SCMP that Medopad functions by charging low annual fees for its services in order to gather enough participants to accumulate significant data that can then be turned into future revenue. “The data is a gold mine when the sample is large enough, and can be combined with other data such as electronic medical records, clinical trials and insurance and reimbursement data," he said.
This is all good news for tech companies, the medical and pharmaceutical industries and insurers but patients may not be as optimistic. This month, Syneos Health released a patient survey of about 800 European and American patients and 200 caregivers on AI in healthcare.
The surveys aimed to shift the focus “from what AI could do for healthcare providers, product companies and investors; to what AI should do for patients.” The results found that patients were at best apprehensive about the use of technology in their care.
Writing in a blog for PharmaTimes, SVP Innovation for Syneos Health Communications Europe Duncan Arbour said that “a majority of patients shared fears about AI’s future prominence, concerns over the role of technology companies in oversight of their health data, and their desire to keep real-world physicians closely involved in their care.”