IoT in healthcare is a hot topic. From strategic planning for the next generation of Smart Hospitals to offloading costs through remote monitoring, the impact of wearables in the healthcare context is immense. Yet, for all its promise, the market has very little to date to show, and for many reasons. While so many companies are proclaiming to be inventing the future and driving efficiencies in care, the reality is that making an impact in patient care, especially when it comes to integrating into the workflow of today’s system with remote monitoring solutions, it is happening at a snail’s pace (it is beyond this post to go through those system reasons, but at some point we will) At major healthcare providers and commercial insurers across the nation, strategic planning executives all look to areas like remote monitoring and corresponding virtual intervention as key elements in addressing the structural stress and pain the Accountable Care Act has inflicted on the highly inefficient status quo.
For a great analysis of how wearables will impact consumer health, Eugene Borukhovich (@healtheugene) at MedCityNews has a great summary though I’d add one important point to his analysis of the future of wearables in healthcare:
At IAT, we’ve spent a lot of time analyzing companies trying to integrate the next great IoT solution–remote monitoring for x, y, z for instance into the flow of patient care. There is a common disconnect in the market, one that affects too many startups. What almost startup misses in the calculation how to impact healthcare through remote monitoring solutions, is that the patients that are costing the system the most money, have very little interest in being monitored. In other words, most applications we’ve seen tout the benefits of things like remote monitoring, without any idea that those that want to be monitored are exactly the patients that don’t cost the system and those that do not want to monitored (e.g. low resourced patients in areas like COPD, Congestive Heart Failure, end of life management, etc) are the patients that do cost the system. In other words, no matter how good the technology, and no matter how much providers and payors want to get costs down on these patients using promising IoT-enabled technology, these patients have to be those that are likely to comply. It is a common disconnect we continue to see with startups offering solutions to providers to improve outcomes and lower costs.