Strategy and design firm Artefact has a vision for healthcare in the future. Imagine: You start to notice symptoms of illness—a stuffy nose, achy joints, and the beginnings of losing your voice. Your smart device has already picked up on your physical ailments, and AI voice recognition noted the changes in your tone.

Notified through the Internet of Things, a self-driving mobile clinic—Artefact’s Aim service—arrives at your door. You step into the mobile unit and a projection of your doctor, powered by AI, leads you through a series of health tests to uncover the cause of your symptoms. After receiving the diagnosis, a 3D printer lights up and quickly spits out a week’s worth of the prescribed medication you need. The medication instructions appear on your smart device. You walk back inside your home, ready to rest, having avoided long lines at a walk-in clinic where you might have spread the infection.

Artefact knows that the future of health will be in the home. It is working with partners such as Microsoft, Sonos, and Amazon to bring the provision of healthcare services closer to where patients need them. Artefact’s Aim is a concept of a future service platform, but two companies are galvanizing action around this concept, and are working now to deliver healthcare proximity to patients in need.

Spire Health enables easy at-home monitoring  

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the United States. For patients with COPD, airways can become inflamed and thickened, resulting in shortness of breath that leads to emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and high healthcare costs. Digital healthcare company Spire Health has developed a remote patient monitoring solution to help patients and providers manage chronic respiratory illness through early intervention.

Spire Health was established in 2013 as a medical device company. Their wearable trackers and apps have the ability to monitor and analyze your breathing rate to determine if you are calm, focused, or tense and notify you to breath deeper to reduce your stress levels. The company has since found that its biggest impact can be in monitoring solutions for proactive care in chronic disease patients.

Spire Health patients attach sensors to their clothing that monitor breathing, pulse, and activity levels. When their breathing or heart rate changes, AI-predictive algorithms and clinical monitoring can spot exacerbations, enable early intervention, and potentially avoid an emergency room visit. The future for companies like Spire Health will see at-home tracking, reduced hospitalizations, and patients with more transparency and control over their own health journey.

MedArrive coordinates providers, patients, and EMTs

Dan Trigub, founder and CEO of MedArrive, is working on another side of the home health care equation—coordinating healthcare providers, patients, and transportation to tend to communities in need. I recently had the chance to interview Dan to learn more about his care management platform that allows providers and payors to bridge the gap in virtual care by utilizing hands-on care from EMS professionals.

Dan has an eye for coordinating services across industries. After working as a member of Lyft’s healthcare service, he was the first hire and former head of Uber Health. He realized that 1% of all healthcare costs are spent on transportation and foresaw the intersection of ridesharing and healthcare.

He also spotted a number of underutilized assets in the form of emergency medical service providers—EMTs and paramedics. These professionals are highly trained, less costly than doctors and nurses, and often are not being deployed to the top of their skillsets.

MedArrive fills the gap in matching EMS providers to patients and building relationships with healthcare payors. EMS providers get access to better use of their time and skills, plus a learning management system to level up their training. Patients at home can get qualified, concierge care at the press of a button, even in traditionally underserved or marginalized communities. The system has the potential to reduce wait times in doctors’ offices and overcrowding in emergency rooms.

Dan’s larger vision may transform MedArrive to a platform coordinating nurses and additional healthcare providers or as an API to offer routing and scheduling for other types of patient monitoring and care. This week, the company announced a partnership with Spect to facilitate at-home screenings to prevent blindness.

Future projections

The production and provision of services closer to the point of demand—proximity—is reshaping industries as we know them, and healthcare is no exception.

Wearable technologies, like those from Spire Health, are empowering patients to prevent and monitor their overall health. Coordination platforms, like MedArrive, are using advanced communications to connect those patients to providers who can extend virtual care to the home.

In the future, we are likely to see a convergence of these technologies via the Internet of Things around a concept like Artefact’s Aim, where patients can walk out their front door—or perhaps remain in their home—and receive all of the quality care that a clinic or doctor’s office currently provides.