As the direction of automated continuous primary care moves into a new era, virtual personal health assistants (VPHAs) could replace the human interface, and do a superior job, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 50 percent of the population will rely on VPHAs for primary care, finding them more responsive and accurate than their human counterparts.
Gartner analysts presented these Maverick research findings at the sold-out Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, which is taking place here through Thursday. Gartner's Maverick research is designed to spark new, unconventional insights. It is unconstrained by Gartner's typical broad consensus-formation process to deliver breakthrough, innovative and disruptive ideas from the company's research incubator to help organizations get ahead of the mainstream and take advantage of trends and insights that could impact IT strategy and the wider organization.
"There is significant evidence that the majority of primary healthcare visits are of little value to the patient, and represent a massive drain on trained physician time. Physician demand is outpacing supply, begging the need for alternatives," said Laura Craft, research director at Gartner. "Technology has advanced to the point where computers have become superior to the human mind; they are more accurate and consistent, and they are better at processing all the determinants of health and well-being than even the best of doctors."
Health monitoring devices that gather health data from people are the beginning of the journey away from in-person exams and diagnoses to remote and virtual monitoring. VPHAs will become the referee of all data and information and will be the interface for communicating with people on health, wellness advice and recommendations based on the processing of the data collected and the individual's health goals and needs.
"Leading indicators prove that technology has advanced in this direction, and mainstream maturity is likely within 15 years," said Ms. Craft. "Eliminating the physician for annual exams and primary health will happen, but, we need to recognize that this is a radical departure from primary care today. New channels of medical care create the need for changes in behavior, thinking, and perhaps even law. However, many barriers that might have been perceived as obstacles are already fading."