The biggest thing to hit healthcare since the polio vaccine.
TJ McCue, a Forbes.com writer, reported “the healthcare Internet of Things market segment is poised to hit $117 billion by 2020.” A second report by “marketwatch.com put that figure at $163.24 billion. Yes, it’s coming and in a big way. The Internet of Things (IoT) will begin affecting all aspects of our life. Linking smart sensors up to smart devices will change the way we live, work and play in mind blowing ways. If you are not familiar with the IoTs potential, there is a link below showing over 60 real world applications for making our world safer and easier.
Baby Boomers Lead the Way
The healthcare of tomorrow starts with the aging population of baby boomers today, who make up its largest segment. Since most of us have lived with technology for at least half our lives, most of us are well positioned to navigate IoT changes. We are familiar with email, computers, smart phones and smart TV’s. This will allow for a smooth transition into at home sensors, health updates sent remotely to our physicians, and social media connections for learning how others with the same maladies live with them. We are entering that realm now with wearable devices such as Fitbit, First Alert and Facebook groups for just about every disease or disorder.
Drivers for the projected 163.25 billion are the demand for remote patient monitoring as the baby boomers continue to age into their 70’s. Right now, industry is developing a new evolution of high speed networking technologies to accommodate it. One of the challenges being faced is the all-important patient data security and privacy issue, which has the focus shifting towards solutions to protect both the connected devices and the patient data generated by them. Another obstacle is finding technology employees with IoT experience.
Right now the primary focus is targeting the integration of connected medical devices and intelligent data analysis in order to enhance the operational efficiency of healthcare firms. The value derived from using more efficient tools and techniques is primarily reduced costs. Other benefits include real-time patient engagement, remote monitoring, chronic disease management, inpatient monitoring, medication management, efficient clinical operations, and workflow management.
Major players in the IoT in healthcare market are Medtronic, Inc., GE Healthcare, IBM, Cisco Systems, and Phillips. The scope of developing and manufacturing is a worldwide endeavor focusing on wearable external, implanted and stationary medical devices. These necessitate a need for systems and software such as remote device and network bandwidth management, data analytics, application security, and network security. Connectivity technologies include Wi-Fi, BLE, NFC, ZigBee, cellular, and satellite technologies. These open up opportunities within the system integration, maintenance and support, as well as many other professional services.
The adoption of the IoT may bring top notch operational efficiency to hospitals and surgical centers in the management of day-to-day clinical operations, and monitoring of hospitalized patients. It can also provide more visibility in the challenging operational environment, where automation and communication play such a critical role. The organizations that are building these IoT solutions will have better control over the operational process and provide better care faster. Cost efficiency, reliability, and safety will be huge achievements scored by IoT applications in the healthcare sector.
Internet of Things enables the centralized monitoring and control of all the operations taking place in healthcare firms. Deploying IoT solutions across the entire healthcare industry could result in real-time communication between patients and caregivers, improved access to care, a big increase in the quality of patient care, lower healthcare costs, and increased lifespan. So the IoT has become an essential strategic focus for all aspects of healthcare today and is gaining huge traction in day-to-day technological deployment. As the momentum builds, the changes will start to come fast and furiously in our lifetime and beyond.