WASHINGTON, D.C.—A friendly, but stern, voice talks to Joseph Kvedar, MD, vice president of Connected Health at Partners HealthCare, from his smartphone. Dr. Kvedar has just woken up.
Explore this issueJanuary 2017
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“Good morning, Joe! Here’s the tale of the tape. Your blood pressure and cholesterol are fine. Your sleep deficit is now up to three hours for the week. You’ve put on 2 lbs. since last month. And your activity level is falling short of your goal by 25%. You need more sleep, and you need more exercise if you’re going to get into that size 40 tuxedo for Julie’s wedding next March. One hundred and forty days to go and counting. Get moving, pal!”
Later, the voice—a form of artificial intelligence Dr. Kvedar has named “Sam”—worries that Dr. Kvedar seems to be walking in the direction of a bakery for a chocolate chip cookie, warns him against it, presents him with a coupon to a nearby gym and suggests he take up swimming again.
This scenario is fictitious, but not by much. Dr. Kvedar, who gave the opening lecture at the 2016 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting, Education at Scale—Beyond an Experiment, in November said such conversations will likely be taking place as soon as five years from now as technologies continue to advance. It’s the direction of technology in general, and healthcare will be no different, Dr. Kvedar said.