As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to establish as a forefront issue along the tech frontier, it has demonstrated elements of specialization and proliferation across a variety of industries. The sustained, rapid increase of connected and connectable devices is especially causing shifts in how organizations choose to spend budgets on technology.
With developing technologies being applied to the various electronic devices, it’s clear that hospitals, in particular, have largely untapped potential in developing what is now being called the IoHT (Internet of Health Things)
But while the industry shows plenty of promise from a resource standpoint, healthcare administrators will face unique challenge in deciding where and how to invest funding from enlarged IT budgets.
A recent study by Accenture indicated that on average, healthcare organizations allocate 10% of IT budgets to IoHT spending. As they dispense the budget, healthcare administrators must decide which value levers are most important to the goals of the organization and then invest to implement the latest technology with the primary targets of cutting costs and delivering a higher value to patients.
Take a look at some of the disruptions and benefits that are offered by the emerging IoHT, specifically in the areas of remote patient monitoring, wellness and prevention and operations.
Remote Patient Monitoring
As hospitals continue to seek out ways to minimize hospital stay time and to encourage patients to be proactive in their own health practices and decisions, adapting new forms of monitoring technology has shown remarkable promise.
The use of home patient kits and smart medical devices creates an early warning system that helps patients and doctors stay informed on the health of each individual. This can be especially useful in respect to cardiac conditions, which traditionally is a high-cost area for both health organizations and individual patients.
But the benefits aren’t just in the patient’s care alone. When surveyed, 33% of medical providers indicated that remote patient monitoring created extensive operational cost savings. In short, the IoHT empowers health organizations to deliver higher value care that costs less to provide.
Wellness and Prevention
As the number of connected personal mobile devices continues to grow, individuals are better equipped to choose a more wellness-centered life style and adopt preventative health practices. One of the latest trends in technology has been “wearable tech” and the fusion of the fashion, technology and medical industries creates exciting possibilities for all three areas.
From a medical standpoint, complex technologies can now be packaged into health mobile applications that are truly revolutionizing personal and home health options. With daily or chronic health problems such as issues related to anxiety and sleep, these devices can significantly reduce the financial costs incurred on both hospitals and patients while also providing medical professionals with consistent data that they can use to evaluate a patient’s health.
As well, the financial benefits also are overwhelmingly affirmative that these new technology options are worth the investment. A reported 45% of healthcare payers described their savings due to wellness and prevention IoHT programs as “extensive” while a comparable 42% of providers indicated a similar benefit in terms of administrative costs.
One of the highest drivers of elevated health care costs are the basic necessary operational costs required at any medical facility. This is by far the area where technology has already begun to make its most immediate impact. Consider the following ways in which technology has began to touch a wide variety of resources used in patient care.
In terms of medical equipment, a few examples of new technology include smart hospital beds, medication dispensers, and bedside monitors. New biosensors allow for better readings of blood pressure, heart rhythm, muscle movements, sleep metrics and a variety of other capabilities.
Another example of the latest and greatest in medically technology is the creation of nanochips, which give professionals better tools to capture information regarding tumors, genomic signaling, diabetes, inflammation, and immune activation in ways most doctors never would have imagined could have been possibly.
The miniaturization of imaging and mobile phone attachments are two additional areas of enhanced capability that reduce the number of devices needed to maintain a fully functioning medical operation.
With added efficient technologies such as these, it’s not a surprise that 31% of surveyed providers indicated extensive cost savings while an impressive 44% of payers realized an extensive improvement in customer experiences.