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How smart are your patients? Can you help them to be smarter?



By Katrina Delargy of TIYGA Health

No, I don’t necessarily mean how intelligent are they – nor even if they have so-called SMART goals (Specific Measurable Agreed Realistic Timebound goals). But those are valid questions. If we talk about health outcomes and healthcare in 2021, these are relevant questions. We talk about empowered patients, although some prefer to talk about activated or autonomous patients – does this depend on how smart they are?

Smart can be defined as “in a clever and effective way” (Cambridge), but it can also mean automated and operating as if by human intelligence (Collins) and smart is often interpreted as “automated”. Indeed, this is likely to be a trend but is not to happen widely in 2021 as healthcare is famously cautious in adopting big changes. We will have apps and devices that tell us we are becoming ill before we notice anything different, but that is easier said than done reliably at scale and pace.

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