We are surrounded by data. From our wearable fitness trackers to smart speakers to home security applications, the Internet of Things (IoT) is impacting our everyday lives at home, at work and in between.
Our team recently attended a number of industry events, including the GeekWire Cloud Summit and Cambia Grove’s annual Interoperability Summit, that provided insight into how this data can be used to fundamentally alter industries such as healthcare. What we heard at these events speaks to a larger conversation within the healthcare industry about data: how do we gather it, what are the best practices for managing it, and how can we leverage it to improve patient care and potentially save lives. As IoT continues to evolve and as healthcare facilities and providers expand their cloud computing capabilities, we will begin to see the difference in improved patient care and outcomes. Our clients at RH Strategic are keeping an eye on these five healthcare IoT trends as they look for opportunities to develop innovative products and improve patient care:
- Whole-person health becomes easier to measure. As the industry integrates Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) data into care, intelligent devices, such as wearable fitness trackers that measure heart rate, sleep and fitness, will provide doctors with the additional insight they need to deliver more holistic care.
- Smart homes lead to smart health. From Amazon’s Alexa to Google Home to Ring security trackers, smart home devices can provide valuable information for caregivers. For example, if a caregiver notices that the lights haven’t been turned on all day at a patient’s home, the caregiver can check in and make sure everything is okay.
- Wearables beyond fitness. Wearable health trackers like the Apple Watch and Fitbit have become common ways to measure fitness, but there are other wearables that can help doctors and patients measure their health 24/7. For example, smart inhaler technology designed to track utilization and provide insight into potential triggers for asthma attacks.
- Medication management beyond the pill organizer. The years of sorting pills by day of the week are coming to an end thanks to new technologies that digitally monitor medication adherence. For example, smart pill bottles that turn blue when it’s time for a patient to take their medication, then turn red and send a text reminder if the patient misses a dosage.
- Real-time mental health trackers. While the jury’s still out on how effective smart devices can be at measuring mental health conditions, the industry is definitely paying attention. Today, new technology is being studied that measures an individual’s mood based on the electrical conductivity of their skin.
Each of these trends creates new opportunities for patients to be more informed about their health. While the technology shows great promise, a few questions remain regarding how to best implement it. For example, how do we ensure that different devices aren’t operating in siloes and are instead working in tandem toward the same goal? How can we integrate all this data into a patient’s electronic health record? And how do we demonstrate the health benefits of these technologies to patients? These are just a few of the conversations our team will be keeping a pulse on moving forward.
RH Strategic is a Seattle and D.C.-based communications firm providing strategic public relations for innovators in the technology, public sector and healthcare markets.