Pursuing relentless innovation through healthcare technology
Accenture talks about the Internet of Thinking in its 2018 Accenture Digital Health Technology Vision. This trend explores the increased use of edge computing in healthcare—coupling insights generated directly from edge devices with other insights generated in the cloud. I am fascinated by the profound potential for using data amassed from edge devices to improve the lives of people.
The industry began tapping into the use of wearables years ago for remote patient monitoring. But the data has largely been used to enhance patient safety and prevent negative outcomes. Now, we’re seeing an incredible opportunity to use data to do so much more for patients.
Prolific data at our fingertips
Wearable technology was immature just a matter of years ago. Now, the wearable medical devices market is expected to reach $14.41 billion by 2022. The emergence of IoT-connected wearables equipped with sensors makes it possible to detect a range of activities of daily living. For instance, tracking physical hand gestures. These hand gestures can reflect almost everything we do – eating, drinking, smoking, shaving, tooth brushing, playing, walking, sleeping, running and taking medication.
The ability to recognize hand gestures will allow caregivers to use data-driven insights to determine patients’ overall wellbeing. Have patients taken their medication? Have they had enough to drink? Did they eat on time? Has a patient experienced a sudden fall? How is a patient’s smoking cessation program going?
These breakthroughs are exciting in and of themselves, but it gets even more interesting. The evolution of sensors enables us to correlate emotional and physical symptoms for gaining insights and generating predictive analytics.
At Somatix, we collect and process half a million data records per person per day to continuously understand the what, when, where, how often and how long about a person’s daily living activities. Using existing APIs, we can correlate data from a variety of edge devices to get to actionable insights. This is what can change lives.
Acting on insights
There is so much that can be done with this immense data. Healthcare systems are using insights from edge devices to monitor pregnant women who are smoking, to track the snacking habits of adolescent teens and to better care for the elderly. Clinicians can see what’s happening in real time and respond at the point of need.
The benefits don’t stop there. Patients can have real-time access to their personal data—anytime, anywhere. Clinicians can slow disease progression by facilitating faster diagnosis and early detection of deterioration. They also can increase medication adherence, treatment efficiency and improve overall patient satisfaction.
We are seeing hospitals reduce readmission fines and prevent avoidable hospitalizations because they can see what patients and caregivers are doing in the home, and doctors can intervene as needed.
Health plans can analyze member responses to communications and adjust as needed. For instance, running an A/B test to see which smoking cessation message resulted in less smoking behavior. By adjusting outreach in real time, based on how health plan members are responding, patients can get to better outcomes—which helps the healthcare system overall.
Healthcare technology is maturing every day. Sensors and wearables are no exception. If we can collect and process the data from these edge devices for next-generation remote patient monitoring, we can enable better outcomes across the continuum of care.