Doctor visits are becoming increasingly difficult for patients and even doctors. Limited appointment availability and shorter doctor visits are creating burnout among healthcare providers and decreasing the overall quality of care.

According to Dr. Greg Irving and his colleagues of the University of Cambridge, doctors are spending less time with patients. After reviewing 178 cases of more than 28.5 million appointments—spanning 67 countries—Irving found a disturbing trend. In 18 countries, doctor appointments last less than five minutes; in 25 countries, appointments are less than ten minutes.

Only in a handful of countries, such as the U.S., are doctor appointments seeing an upward trend—increasing from fifteen minutes to twenty minutes. The global inconsistency is startling.

We go to our doctors to tell us how we are doing through endless appointments; but what if the stay in the waiting room wasn’t always necessary?

LIVIT Offers a Solution

At SharkDreams, we see Internet of Things (IoT) technology as a solution to this growing problem.

In August 2018, the SharkDreams team attended the Wearable Technologies Conference in Singapore to showcase our LIVIT Virtual Care ecosystem. At the conference, we encouraged attendees to explore the LIVIT mobile app and ask questions about how it works with our medication compliance tracking hardware. The feedback we received reinforced our mission to empower individuals.

While people were curious about the compliance tracking features LIVIT offers, their real interest was piqued by the system’s ability to monitor individual patients’ vital signs, including heart rate and ECG. They saw value in LIVIT’s ability to track information about their health, as well as medication compliance.

People are naturally curious about their health. We recognize this and have developed LIVIT technology to adapt to meet the needs of the many while still addressing each user as an individual. Our IoT approach allows healthcare to happen from anywhere, at any time, for anybody, and the vitals monitoring capability is an important part of that.

LIVIT’s ability to monitor vitals is an important part of how virtual care is addressing patients’ need for health advice; and it does that without the need for a hard-to-get, shortened appointment.

Patient-Centered Approach

The concept of LIVIT may have started as a way of addressing compliance concerns, but our vision at SharkDreams has evolved into one much more human-centered. As the results of the Singapore app showcase revealed, people want to be involved in their health, and this involvement can be aided through the use of easy-to-use technology.

The current three-part ecosystem includes a Bluetooth device attached to a patient’s medication, a coordinating mobile app to easily track compliance, and a separate portal for caregivers to monitor their entire network of patients. The nanotechnology used reduces an individual’s need to interpret their actions, and instead patients can focus on what matters most to them.

A skin patch capable of tracking over twenty patient vitals will soon be integrated into the ecosystem. The patch integrates seamlessly with its precursors, adding another layer of personalization to a patient’s health tracking.

Technology is becoming an increasingly important part of the healthcare landscape. It started with consumer electronics like fitness trackers and digital scales and has now evolved to virtual care systems like LIVIT. When it’s done well, technology is almost invisible or even an extension of the individual.

As people’s needs change, technology must strive to better meet their needs. For this reason, LIVIT is continuously evolving, and the insights gathered in Singapore mark our path forward.

At SharkDreams, we’re making healthcare approachable, accessible, and affordable.

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Irving G, Neves AL, Dambha-Miller H, et al International variations in primary care physician consultation time: a systematic review of 67 countries BMJ Open 2017;7:e017902. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017902

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