The end of 2015 and the beginning of the new year naturally brings to mind two things: where have we been and where are we going. And when you’re talking about healthcare and the Internet of Things, there is a lot to consider. The rapid advance of the technology behind IoT has led to rapid adoption – and adaptation, too – by the healthcare industry.
According to EH News Bureau, 2015 “saw the emergence of 300 healthcare start-ups with 36 of them going through early round funding.” What was once a consumer-centric industry has shaped the expectations of patients, clinicians and technologists alike. The healthcare sector was “defined sharply by the forces of consumerism” and the investment world is backing “the new consumer-centric models of healthcare.” These two economic forces have effectively combined to say that there is no turning back, that healthcare needs the level of connectivity and instantaneous response that IoT can provide.
Within those start-ups, twenty of them have specifically focused on areas including home healthcare, medical technology and clinician platforms. These are the areas that have the greatest potential to revolutionize healthcare – they have significant impact on patients, both from a direct care and infrastructure perspective. EH News Bureau agrees, writing, “while the future truly will belong to reducing the infrastructure gap in terms of hospital beds availability, the play in healthcare is certainly going the digital way.”
And now that we’re in 2016, we’re looking at continuing that wave of digital healthcare disruption, and perhaps even beginning a second wave. Wearables, nearables, point-of-care diagnostics, virtual care, and remote health apps create a more connected healthcare consumer. Combined together, they support the development of powerful health platforms. EH News Bureau reports that “we will see the acceleration of the asset-light healthcare delivery system to support the wider healthcare agenda...” The asset-light aspect of IoT will be the key to its adoption – low cost, powerful, and near instantaneous response make it hard to ignore, even by industries that have been cautious about embracing internet technologies in the past, including healthcare.
Looking back at the strides made in healthcare and IoT in 2015, it will be no surprise to see them further intertwine to create better patient and clinician experiences in 2016 and beyond. Healthcare expectations will continue to be elevated by what patients expect in the consumer world, where IoT is meeting seemingly futuristic demands. It’s only natural that IoT also bring user-driven experiences to the healthcare world.