Prominent Healthcare IoT trends to watch for in 2016

The healthcare industry is being shaken up– rapid transformation taking place–driven by fast emerging Internet of Things (IoT) technology. The IoT healthcare has profoundly changed the way services are delivered across the globe and has transformed all the facets intrinsically related to healthcare industry. The increasingly massive adoption IoT network has conferred patients and stakeholders with unprecedented benefits: cost-effective as well as quality patient care, augmented patient-provider engagement, digitization of patient data and healthcare services across regions, and effective patient monitoring. 

Advancement in healthcare automation and monitoring technology, innovations in wearable medical devices, technological enhancements in sensors, increasing interoperability of IoT connected devices have driven the healthcare IT segment to deliver “personalized healthcare”–the new paradigm in healthcare IT. The developments in cloud-based connected devices, cost-effective cloud network models by vendors have resulted in the ‘intelligent’ management of big data, which have dramatically improved patient outcomes. The sharing of patient data and its and integration have taken patient monitoring to an astounding levels and has redefined the interaction amongst the patients and healthcare providers.



Some of the trends closely watched by healthcare providers, patients, pharmaceutical companies and various stakeholders are discussed here:

Prominent Healthcare IoT trends in 2016
  • Technologies Make Patients More Responsible For Their Health: Healthcare providers is fast adopting IoT to significantly transform patient engagement modules, by putting a large part of patient monitoring responsibility to patients themselves. Equipped with various wearable devices and sensors, a real-time monitoring of healthcare data is possible and they can constantly weigh on their health data against norms; clinicians and caregivers are alerted in case of any anomaly is found.
  • The ubiquity of smartphones, apps, and wearables will empower patients and providers: Patient-centered healthcare has resulted in dramatically improving quality of care while significantly decreasing overall costs. Furthermore, the data from devices like Fitbit and other personal monitoring devices will also significantly benefit researchers engaged in clinical trials to discover new therapeutic and diagnostic tools, thereby benefitting the entire medical community 
  • Consumer-directed healthcare-–an emerging concept in managed healthcare : IoT has enabled patients to control and manage their own health care spending, along with developments in various Consumer-directed health plans such as Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) will transform the managed healthcare offered by various insurance providers.
  • Platform revolution: the ubiquity of various mobile and cloud devices will lead to a platform revolution, as a leading multinational management consulting services company Accenture puts it in its recent technology vision report. This will address addresses the parameter of interoperability by capturing the data from a range of sources under IoT network such as wearables, smartphones and glucometers, and will engage patients, clinicians and healthcare providers combine them to deliver a holistic healthcare. 
  • Decreasing direct patient-physician interaction: The integration of various Internet-connected devices across platforms has led to remote monitoring of health data possible, improving the diagnosis of diseases and chronic conditions. This will also reduce the need for personalized visits to hospitals and clinics, in case of common symptoms like skin rashes, thereby the time delay in care delivery. Concept such as "smart beds" implemented by some hospitals have improved the in-patient monitoring by decreasing the manual interaction of nurses
  • Data offering valuable insights: The IoT will result in an increased flow of data for efficient patient records, population health data and other national databases, resulting to unraveling of new complexity in provider-physician operations. The management of "data explosion" made possible by big data analytics tools will create vast clinical outcomes opportunities.
  • Patient centered analytics leads to benchmark databases: Monitoring of data available through IoT devices offers valuable health information to establish a common baseline of data for researchers and care givers to analyze when comparing various treatment options for a range of diseases including chronic ones like cancer and asthma. 
  • IoT Devices offering cognitive insights: Vendors and technology providers will keep on making technological enhancements and design innovations of various IoT devices such as wearable devices and apps. The market players will focus on strategies that will increase their adoption in health and wellness centers. This will help provide patients with personalized strategies to prevent lifestyle diseases and maintain a healthy lifestyle. 
  • Concerns on data privacy will lead to favorable government regulations: the vast amount of private health data through various wearable devices and IoT will lead to mounting concerns in data security and privacy. The healthcare providers, vendors and stakeholders in healthcare IoT including enterprises need to provide important safeguard to protect the privacy of data. This will also lead to governments and regulatory agencies across regions secure the medical devices and information stored on the cloud. 
  • IoT will improve patient experiences: Apart from the capability of IoT to drive patient-provider engagement, healthcare provider institutions will lead clinicians, nurses and doctors to spend more quality time with patients, address their concerns thereby transforming their experiences. 
  • Next-Generation EHR: Increased adoption of IoT in healthcare will lead to effective aggregation of useful medical information in making EHR and circulating it across various technology platforms which offers 24/7 monitoring.
  • Cost-effective business models: healthcare industry is experimenting with business models in which the diagnostic devices themselves are not the most valuable piece in the delivery. This has transferred significant value addition for patients, payers and providers. For instance, patients and healthcare providers can detect the early risk factors that may cause cardiac arrest thus alerting them to take necessary actions. The payers including the managed care providers can avoid incremental costs associated due to prolonged recovery of some diseases. 
  • Broader ecosystems: IoT help in creation of broader medical ecosystems. Companies in medical technology are witnesses entering into collaborations and partnership with market players from related industries and each market player will result in unique capability additions to the healthcare industry. This will result in the twin goal of value creation and value capture in various care settings such as prevention and wellness, chronic care, and includes acute care and post-acute care. The IoT technology will help in overcoming different bottlenecks in the integration of medical data across patients, providers, payers associated with each off these segments. 
  • IoT to transform chronic care: IoT in healthcare helps in linking various devices so that they communicate reliably and securely. Data from blood-glucose and heart-rate sensors are available, they are not integrated in a system that aggregates and shares information with all involved parties. For data pertaining to blood glucose levels of patients obtained through remote monitoring sensors will help the patients and providers to measure various bio-signs and further communicate those data to an integrated IoT platform.
  • Medtech players build a portfolio of IoT-enabled innovations: Medtech players identify how IoT technology fits into their existing product portfolio and existing strategy to treat diseases. This results in the delivery of transformational innovation apart from core innovation in terms of incremental enhancements to existing products.
  • IoT capability will help market players in meeting unmet needs: Healthcare providers, companies and technology players will get thorough insights into emerging needs. The market participants will keep tracking information flow in various loops of four critical care settings such as preventive care, chronic care, critical care, and post-acute care and make strategies accordingly. 
With time, more advancements in connected devices and IoT network will take place, and their adoption in healthcare will keep on adding to the positive individualized patient experiences and improving the healthcare outcomes. The efficient management of patient analytics through different IoT devices and increasing capacity of IoT-enabled connectivity across hospitals and providers including clinicians and doctors will unlock ample growth opportunities in the healthcare IT market.
As per a recent report by Allied Market Research, the healthcare IoT is estimated to garner $136.8 billion by 2021, growing at a CAGR of 12.5% over the 2014–2021 forecast period. 

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