IBM's global healthcare boss explains how everything will change between you and your doctor

Steve Jennings | Getty

Wearable technology is beginning to unlock innumerable possibilities when it comes to healthcare.

And it’s beyond an Apple Watch alerting you to a dangerously low heartbeat or a Fitbit challenging you to walk more than your friends.

Wearables can produce the type of data that allows doctors to see health problems before they happen, or track that patients are sticking to regimen. Doctors and patients can collaborate in ways they never have or could.

While collaboration in industry and science is usually talked about at a much bigger scale – between governments and industry, or between different research disciplines, for example – we are also on the verge of a new era of collaboration on the front line of health care, in the relationship between you and your doctor.

There could be a real shift toward more preventative healthcare according to Sean Hogan, General Manager of Global Healthcare at IBM, who joined a Business Insider panel on health and technology in Sydney this week.

He says health has traditionally been “something that happens to you”, as in, you get sick, go see a doctor, and they prescribe a treatment. But now that relationship is changing, and doctors will have better data on what happens to patients after their consultation.

Hogan used the example of Type II diabetes – the incidence of which is rising in developed countries around the world – as a disease that can be better managed through collaboration between doctors and patients, aided by monitoring through technology and data.

“There are all kinds of complications associated with treating people who have diabetes. So we see opportunities to prevent the deterioration into Type II diabetes, the attributes of an individual who is on that path are pretty easy to see.”

Treating a potential diabetic is not only better for the patient’s health, but it is more cost effective as well. “They don’t necessarily cost a lot before becoming a diabetic, but once they become a diabetic it is about three times the cost. And it is inherently preventable in most cases.”

You can check out the full conversation below.

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