The introduction and implementation of the many systems and products that utilize and connect to the Internet of Things (IoT) has transformed the business landscapes of various industries – healthcare included. Uses for IoT within the field of healthcare range from mobile medical apps to wearables that allow patients to input and capture their personal health data. With the convenience and accessibility granted to patients and healthcare professionals by IoT, managing one’s health becomes a whole lot easier.
However, there are some obstacles to overcome when dealing with IoT expansion in healthcare. First, there’s the potential of overloading care practitioners with too much data to process; practitioners already have a patient electronic medical record (EMR) to try to pull meaningful insight. Secondly, translating and understanding this data into real findings and tangible care methods is difficult without the right technology. Lastly, there’s the issue of data privacy and security.
In spite of these obstacles, the notion that wearables can lead to better healthcare is one that has been gaining momentum – especially as patients become keener on the idea of tracking their own health.
A global study conducted by Pharmaphorum, sponsored by SAP interviewed 143 life sciences companies where the questions focused on the current environment for health wearables, some of the challenges involved and the steps to take to implement a wearable program. The study found that 32 percent of respondents agree that patients play the most critical role in driving health wearable adoption. Twenty-five percent felt that healthcare practitioners and care providers should also play a role in healthcare wearable adoption. For respondents, wearables and the data they provide offer a plethora of uses, including:
- Preventative care tools to act as early warning signals to wearers.
- Treatment improvements by tracking patient behavior and long-term medicine consumption of medications.
- Real-time monitoring of patients to enable quick, efficient adjustment to treatments.
Although, one of the main challenges identified in the study primarily related to data safety and security. Granting access to personal information, especially medical records and personal health, to third parties has been one of the largest obstacles facing IoT today. This attitude, however, seems to be slowly changing, as patients and doctors become more acquainted with the idea of healthcare wearables as part of their health treatment or prevention regiment.
SAP has taken a proactive role in creating a patient engagement solution within its healthcare efforts through taking on new customers and entering new strategic relationships. For example, SAP client Roche Diagnostics has incorporated SAP technology to roll out Accu-Check View, a new connected health package that combines a blood glucose monitor, a wearable fitness tracker and an app. Specifically targeted to meet the specific individual needs of doctors and patients, a patient’s vital signs and blood can no wbe watched in relation to their respective physical activity levels in real-time. It also allows for the doctor to monitor patient vitals and activity remotely, while granting the patient an additional line of communication to their physician.
In regards to partnerships, SAP and digital health platform Validic entered a strategic relationship in July of this year. Through the relationship, healthcare and life science organizations and groups can speed up the development of patient-centered solutions. In doing so, they hope to improve health outcomes, reduce costs and provide a personalized approach to medicine.
Through combining technology and healthcare, the world of personalized health becomes more attainable for healthcare professionals, physicians and patients alike.
To learn more about the Pharmaphorum study, please click here.
For the infographic (below), please click here.