When ForHealth was formed in 2010, healthcare in the United States was heading in a new direction.  Innovation was the buzz word and the terms “cloud” and “ACOs” were trending. Meaningful use was being drafted, mobile health was beginning to inspire developers, and the Affordable Care Act had just been passed.  AT&T spent much of 2010 learning the healthcare industry, understanding the technology gaps, and determininghow our expertise could help address those gaps. Indeed, 2011 was a year dedicated to seeking the right strategic partners to help us develop solutions that address the current healthcare market.

Here we are in 2012– in the market where we’ve piloted and implemented innovative cloud and mobile healthcare solutions. Mobile applications are popping up all around us, assisting with remote monitoring and even fitness and healthy eating. The word “innovation” has taken on a new meaning as Health IT has opened the door to opportunities we could only have dreamed of in the past.

Health IT to the Rescue

These developments are happening just in time. The value that technology can bring is the enablement of a new, integrated approach to healthcare, where providers work together as an efficient and effective team – while also giving patients power to take a more active role in their own care.

Did you know that it has been predicted that for the first time, we may have a generation of children who may not live as long as their parents? This is due to the enormous and terrifying trends we are seeing with regards to childhood obesity and diabetes, earlier onset diabetes, earlier onset hypertension, and heart disease. But this doesn’t have to happen. With the right tools we can combat these frightening trends, and I believe that many of those tools are currently being developed and launched.

Past the tipping point

I’ve said before that I believe the healthcare industry is at a “tipping point” for fundamental change. And I think when you look back, you can see that the scales are actually starting to tip in a way that will ultimately improve patient care and lead to better healthcare outcomes. The heart of healthcare has always been innovative. The paradox is that while we can perform complicated laparoscopic surgeries, we still chart the surgery on paper and limit the manner in which we share and communicate.

It’s also been a year since I came on board as the Chief Medical Information Officer at AT&T. In that time, I’ve been able to both learn and teach as I’ve brought my own thoughts and ideas to a table full of technology and innovation.  When I was first hired, the question, “Why would you want to take this role, versus continuing in a clinical setting?” was posed to me. My answer was that I thought that this role would help me to have a bigger impact and touch more people than I would before. So, how’s the year gone? I think this infographic does a pretty good job of showing how far we’ve come:

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