Systems of care are transforming. The digital era has brought forth a global disruption that has caused organisations worldwide to re-evaluate how they operate and how to meet the demands of thriving in an ever-changing the changing world.
The Internet of Things is one of the increasingly powerful outcomes of the digital revolution. It’s not a new idea – first being discussed a few decades ago – but with the world becoming more connected the concept is now a firm reality. In the simplest of terms, the Internet of Things is made up of devices that are connected together and by combining this with automated systems, it’s possible to gather and analyse information to create an action to complete a particular task.
While some industries struggle to evolve or are maybe a little too set in their ways, healthcare is one where the Internet of Things (or Internet of Medical Things – IoMT) has a tremendous amount of potential for great value and impact, and the industry as a whole is moving forward.
Integrating IoT features into medical devices (creating the IoMT) can greatly improve the quality and effectiveness of medical care, bringing greater value to patients who may need constant monitoring or preventive interventions (such as the elderly or patients with chronic conditions).
There has been a rising demand for not only lower cost in healthcare, but more personalised care and further patient care can be greatly facilitated by the IoT in a massive way. An aging and longer living population is putting greater strain on healthcare (especially emergency services) and as life expectancy continues to rise, healthcare is going to continue to feel drain on resources.
This is where IoMT comes into play. IoMT can provide better care for the elderly and those with serious conditions while also having the potential to really cut down rising healthcare costs for patients and hospital budgets. It’s even estimated that healthcare IoMT solutions will reach a staggering $1 trillion by 2025.
The key trends that are pushing IoMT adoption include:
Remote Health Monitoring Devices & Mobile Apps – These devices feed patient records with real-time data, perform analysis and send coaching notifications to both providers and patients.
Wearable Devices – Includes devices that provide instant feedback on a patient’s day-to-day activities such as steps, calories burned, heart rate, breathing etc. and can even help pre-empt and perhaps prevent medical emergencies.
Patient Centric Care – Devices that allow providing care tailored to individual patient and their preferences or needs, ensuring a far more personal experience and level of care.
Big Data – Services provided through smart watches and other devices (such as FitBit) can provide researchers with access to a vast amount of biometric data of its users which can be used to test hypothesis and study health further.
IBM is one of the pioneers in helping clients adopt IoT into their organisation, with an extensive history of providing healthcare professionals with the technology and expertise they need to power thriving organisations, support vibrant communities and solve health challenges of the modern day.
This includes the IBM Watson IoT Platform – a market leading, cloud-hosted service that is designed so clients can integrate their data from an unlimited number of connected devices.
IBM’s Watson Platform brings a convergence between cognitive computing and IoT, supporting an ecosystem of innovation. IBM is already involved in a number of game-changing healthcare projects including its partnership with Pfizer on the development of a real-time disease symptom monitoring of Parkinson’s patients.
These are exciting and optimistic times for the healthcare industry and it’s clear the industry is ready to adopt IoT over the coming years, making it a centrepiece for healthcare innovation.
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