SECTIONS - IoT Time
June 20, 2016

It's Time to Get Serious about Health Care


Consumers have a problem with the IoT. They don’t trust us. If you don’t believe the apocryphal evidence, the flattening sales numbers, or the consumer media’s schadenfreudic coverage of every data breach or Revolv-like scandal, believe the recent consumer study from Mobile Ecosystem Forum and AVG Technologies that reported that 60 percent of mobile users are worried about a world of connected devices, and privacy and security are seen as the biggest worldwide threats by 62 percent and 54 percent of consumers, respectively. 

It’s a problem that won’t be solved with proof of better security, or privacy controls, because there’s always a more viscerally powerful proof in the form of breaches that were not there yet. It won’t be solved with promises that the big players are working on it, because those big players are seen as part of the problem. The root of the problem is perception, and the only way to improve that is to show that trusted people trust the technology.

And that’s why health care has to be the battleground in this war to earn consumer trust, and from there, adoption. People trust their doctors, and if we want them to trust us, we need the doctors to start implementing IoT tech. We have to get to the doctors and hospitals, and that should be easy because in addition to being the seat of consumer trust, health care is also the most personal way we have to bring the real power to bear on improving individuals’ lives in a concrete way – no gimmicks, no laughs, just medicine delivered better.

A good place to start is with access. A new online IoT platform, Zwivel, is a tool designed to help people find a doctor that will give them the care they need, right from home. It is a free online platform, HIPAA privacy protected, where users upload photos and videos to digitally consult with top doctors in the chosen specialties.

Also in the arena of bringing health care closer to home, the Industrial Internet Consortium has launched an IoT testbed in partnership with Infosys, the Massachusetts General Hospital MD PnP Lab, PTC, and RTI to develop an open IoT data management and analytics platform for clinical and remote medical devices. The system will gather and process patient monitoring data to improve patient care in hospitals and home care environments.

According to Julian M. Goldman, a doctor at Mass General and co-leader of the IIC health care task group, in the U.S. 400,000 people die in hospitals every year due to preventable medical errors. Accessible IIoT technologies can remedy this, but we’re moving too slowly. Phase one of this connected care testbed begins immediately. The initial remote care sites are a single volunteer household for home care and the Massachusetts General MD PnP laboratory for clinical care.

This kind of study and implementation is critical to making IoT technology in health care palatable to consumers. More than that, successfully taking health care out of the hospitals, when it makes sense, helps people establish more personal connections to their health care providers.

The IoT is the only workable solution to this. Not only will it help curb the exploding cost of medicine by decreasing the number of people inside major care facilities, bringing telemedicine, remote monitoring, and intelligent analytics into the homes of people looking for comfort in their weakest moments will ease their burdens. Their doctors will be at hand when they need them, and the technology that makes that possible will earn their trust.

Doesn’t that sound like a worthwhile goal?

So, let’s get serious about this. Earn it.   




Edited by Ken Briodagh


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