Personalising the patient experience is now a possibility by integrating IoT (Internet of Things), and data from those devices. It can provide both patients and their doctors with a better picture of their health, as a better way to track daily activities and outcomes. IoT in healthcare simply provides another data point. This can be helpful not only for the patient, but in providing physicians with robust information to analyse and make more informed diagnoses and treatment plans.
The medical sector of IoT, known as IoMT, ballooned this year. It experienced a valuation of $158 billion, up from $41 billion in 2017, according to a report by Deloitte. IoMT isn’t just about the devices, according to Delloitte’s definition. “[it’s] a connected infrastructure of medical devices, software applications, and health systems and services.”
Mapping the patient experience journey
Patients can experience fragmented and confusing healthcare journeys. Data systems do not often connect to all devices or providers, or that data is simply not available in a timely manner. The ability to put an entire patient profile together from more data sources, including digital experiences, will better serve patients with their providers and empower them to self-service.
Healthcare providers can follow up with clients in a personalised manner. They can use data collected across experiences – on IoT devices and typical patient/provider interactions. These devices span the entire patient care journey, from very early stages followed by continued monitoring.
The pandemic changed how we seek healthcare. Nearly every medical professional and insurance provider advocated for telehealth. As a result, people started to rely on measuring and testing methods available outside of an office or hospital. Effective telehealth use relies on markers available through IoMT. Telehealth use tripled from the start of 2020 – about 75% of patients say they will continue to use it according to “The Digital Ecosystem” Insider Intelligence Health report.
IoMT in practice
Applying technology to medicine, the data collected from IoMT devices has numerous benefits to patients and providers. It can also improve their relationship. IoMT can be used to manage disease or chronic illness, improve diagnosis and treatment, or monitor medication.
Devices can help to monitor all kinds of things – such as oxygen, heart rate, and even overall form in physical activity. For example, if a heart patient wears a smartwatch, their provider can set alerts and monitor the heart rate for fluctuations or abnormalities. This can alert patients to set an appointment or schedule a particular test.
Doctors have noted the particular benefit for patients who live alone, and the alerts these devices can send if something changes in routine. Early alerts can reduce the length of hospital stays and prevent admissions – ultimately lowering the cost of care.
IoMT isn’t just for patients. Devices are used in hospitals to keep track of medical equipment or for monitoring uses – such as freezer temperature or hygiene. Monitoring those sensors as part of the right tech stack can provide updates to professionals in real-time.
Health insurance companies are also using IoMT connected intelligent devices. Insurance companies can leverage data captured through health monitoring devices for their underwriting and claims operations. This data will enable them to detect fraud claims or risk assessment. It may offer incentives to their customers for using and sharing health data generated by IoT devices.
Privacy & Compliance
Concerns of this lay in privacy and compliance, as well as transparency of what is collected and how that data will be used. Brands create more positive outcomes with first-party data, but it comes with a big risk if you’re not careful. Most people never read through all the legalese or are unable to decipher what they are agreeing to share.
There is a massive education gap in the benefit of data and how sharing it can be beneficial. There is a lack of transparency in the advertising world. That has created an overall lack of trust. Providers need to earn and keep the trust of patients. It is important they understand what and why their data is being collected and shared.
Brands should manage consumer data and expectations correctly while focusing on providing a positive experience in a compliant manner. Ultimately, these will be the brands that gain the market share and most loyal customer base.
Nothing can replace a doctor looking at results. But devices and data can help to provide additional insight. This will lead to better patient outcomes, lower health care costs, and improve efficiency and engagement.