Disruption: How the Internet of Things Will Rock Healthcare
The Internet of Things is poised to disrupt multiple industries in the future as the centralized computing paradigm gives way to distributed, data-rich systems. In this series of weekly posts, we will explore how the Internet of Things will change a specific sector, why it’s needed, the trends and drivers, and the outlook going forward. This week we begin by looking at the future of healthcare and how the Internet of Things will impact the way you stay healthy and
Currently, the healthcare industry in the United States suffers from $750 billion dollars in wasted healthcare costs. On average, the cost to discharge a patient is $18,000, nearly 300% more than in other developed countries. Why are we spending three times more per patient? The reason is that the administrative duties a doctor must perform an account for nearly 70% of their time meaning that they only spend 30% of their time with patients. Add the fact that the U.S. will face a shortage of approximately 125,000 physicians in 10 years, and the problem is even worse. How does the Internet of Things solve this problem?
Reduce equipment downtime and save billions of dollars
First, connected devices will benefit healthcare and improve patient care by reducing equipment downtime. By remotely testing and monitoring a device such as a connected MRI, technicians can quickly and effectively identify root causes of failure and have answers to common problems right at their fingertips. Companies that do this are seeing an average of a 50% reduction in repair times, reduced service costs of around $2000 for each problem, and
20% fewer technician dispatches worldwide.
Prepared everything even before you needed
Next, connected medical devices can proactively replenish supplies before they are needed. For example, connected lab devices that require specific chemicals and compounds to operate can be monitored and tracked in real-time and trigger an alert before supplies are depleted. This can enable automatic replenishment systems to deploying and limit downtime and improve patient and caregiver satisfaction.
Make the full use of your resources
Connected devices can also make it possible to efficiently schedule resources. Let’s say an MRI in one location is only 20% utilized and one in another location in over-utilized. Doctors can reassign patients to use other resources during off-peak times and that data can be fed into a cloud-based scheduling application and can also factor in the maintenance information from the previous example.
Take care of your patients in real-time
Finally, the Internet of Things can make it possible to sense the status of a patient, their changes, and use analytics to identify trends for effective treatment recommendations. As the population continues to age and infectious disease threats give way to chronic disease, There will be a growth in the number of patients needing treatment. Hospitalized patients whose physiological status requires close attention can be constantly monitored by employing sensors to collect comprehensive data and using gateways and the cloud the analyze and store the information and send to caregivers for review. This replaces the process of having a health professional come at regular intervals to check vital signs and improves quality of care through constant attention, eliminating the need for a caregiver to actively engage in data collection and analysis.
With the benefits and capabilities that the Internet of Things has to offer to the world of healthcare, there is still much work to be done to make it a reality. Healthcare is likely to be the slowest adopter of technology and regulations are based on old models of providing healthcare.
In order to make this a reality, there needs to be a push for standardized data formats, systems
to ensure privacy and security of patient data and regulatory pathways for enabling patient-generated
health data to be entered into patient records. Healthcare is easily the most important
sector that would benefit from the Internet of Things revolution by improving care, saving lives,
and cutting costs.
Imran Charania is a technology entrepreneur and an Internet of Things product development consultant. He was previously the Founder, CEO, and Chief Architect at Cirkyt Technologies, Inc. where he developed technology to create hybrid mechanical smartwatches. He is also a graduate of Texas Tech University with a degree in Computer Engineering. Imran is a fan of the Philadelphia 76ers as well as his hometown Dallas Cowboys.
Imran can be reached for comments or questions on Twitter @imran_charania.