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How does the Internet of Things impact healthcare?

October 11, 2016

Steve Fanning, Vice President of Healthcare Strategy

We’re all hearing more about the Internet of Things (IoT) in healthcare. According to one research firm, estimates put the IoT healthcare market reaching $117 billion by 2020. You may have heard it referred to in a variety of ways, but we’re all fundamentally talking about the same thing … connected sensors that move data from devices and people, and from machine to machine.

What I find interesting and exciting is how IoT will change the healthcare landscape. Patients and providers can benefit from IoT with the use of mobile medical devices or wearables (Fitbits, heart rate monitors, and more) that track patient activity.

But here’s where it gets interesting. Think of what we can do if we pull information out of those devices and connect the data to the patient’s records. It might lead us all down a path of treating the patient on an individual basis, which is the idea behind Precision Medicine, a medical model that proposes the customization of healthcare, with medical decisions, practices, and/or products being tailored to the individual patient. With the use of wearable trackers and other monitoring devices, the data on each patient is current, which results in physicians treating patients more accurately based on their specific medical history. Healthcare organizations ultimately want to build a knowledge base and understand why people get sick to be able to prevent illnesses and diseases in the future—and ultimately to influence and improve population health.

I’m happy to say that Infor is already moving down the IoT path. Let me give you an example.

Legacy Health, based in Portland, connects almost 4,000 patient monitoring devices using Infor Cloverleaf, healthcare’s leading interoperability platform and core component of our IoT strategy. The complexity of healthcare is highlighted here, with Legacy’s devices generating 4.5 million messages a day that update multiple systems every 30 seconds or less. Given the critical importance of this patient data, every message is managed for security, performance, recovery and alerts.

Today, nurses spend more time in front of a computer than with their patients. According to the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, an average nurse spends 21 minutes of every hour manually documenting clinical information in an electronic health record. With IoT much of this work can be automated, making it available in real-time with more accuracy, and ultimately giving nurses more time for patient care, and lowering costs.

What is your organization’s view on using mobile medical devices to monitor patient health? Please share your thoughts here.
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