Usage of connected health devices by average consumers is on the rise, as their utility becomes clearer and the IoT technology becomes more mature.
A recent study by Parks Associates found that almost one in five households has two or more connected health devices. Device makers’ ability to make the hardware seamlessly intertwine with users’ lives while adding advanced functionalities is a driving force for the growth, according to the research company.
Perhaps more importantly, IoT devices can help people maintain good health more easily. One advantage of using connected device is that it allows for continuous health condition monitoring.
“It’s important for patients with chronic conditions, like diabetes and hypertension, to catch and manage their condition early in order to prevent costly complications, but they often remain undiagnosed,” said Harish Kilaru, director of Business Development at Cardiogram, a digital health company. “Consumer wearables, like Apple Watch, can be used to accurately detect these conditions, making them powerful tools to help guide at-risk patients to the care they need.”
“We’re continuing to see a rise in consumer interest of connected devices,” said Rob Schneider, VP of Sales and Marketing at Omron Healthcare, a company that aims to eliminate heart attacks and strokes altogether. “Connected healthcare technology is now a vital component for developing proactive healthcare plans and fostering patient-doctor dialogue.”
Artificial intelligence also comes into play in the connected health space. For example, QuartzClinical is leveraging machine learning and big data to predict the likelihood of adverse outcomes, readmission to the hospital and even death of individual patients.
Hospitals and physicians can use this information to improve their clinical care and deliver more personalized medicine. By reducing readmission to the hospital, inpatient mortality, and length of stay associated with many surgical procedures, the cost of healthcare can be drastically reduced, QuartzClinical pointed out.
IoT aids in aging-in-place
IoT devices will also prove important in the growing aging-in-place field. “Without question, one of the prime drivers in the connected health space continues to be the aging-in-place trend,” said Joe Liu, CEO of Mivatek, a smart home and healthcare service company.
Studies show that even if they need day-to-day assistance or ongoing health care during retirement, upwards of 82% of seniors want to stay in their homes in their golden years, according to Liu.
In order to do so, IoT devices can be employed to continuously check on seniors’ health condition and to establish quick communication with the outside world. A wearable device can monitor heartbeat, pulse or other vital signs, and also serve as a panic button, which will send notifications to immediate family members as well as health care services if there is an emergency.
Up to 45% of the surveyed indicated interest in a home system that senses emergencies and alerts them and/or first responders, according to Parks Associates.
When patients are encouraged to engage with their care and participate via self-monitoring platforms as well, the care results are even more impressive said Amy Cook, a marketing director at ResMed, a connected health company.
“AI in remote patient monitoring allows clinical staff to identify high risk patients with help of machine learning risk scoring algorithms and recommending interventions for better outcomes,” said Himanshu Shah, CIO of Care Innovations.