We’ve previously discussed the Internet of Things (IoT), and we’ve gone over the broad strokes of what these new technologies–and a world of connected things–could mean for healthcare. Now it seems the industry is starting to focus on how the Internet of Things will manifest itself and how healthcare can use it to the best of its ability. This has been called the next phase for entrepreneurs by Karen DeSalvo of the ONC. While talking about the opportunities that IoT presents in healthcare is exciting, we also have to think about those most impacted by these developments: the patients and consumers.
We first have to consider the Internet of Things not as being about connecting things, but connecting people. We use technology to make our “things” smarter so that we can work towards becoming a wholly connected person, a person who can then use these technologies to improve our own health and life. Getting to this point is going to take time and many different players across industries, but it is coming.
The healthcare industry will have to think about how patients will adapt and change as the Internet of Things begins to become more impactful. Health IT Analytics considers how, most importantly, providers must understand ways their patients will interact with new technology, as well as what will be most beneficial to facilitate patient engagement. In understanding how patients will engage with the IoT, it’s important to consider how people use technologies in their every day lives. This leads to a better understanding of what will make IoT technologies user-friendly, enabling the most engagement and the ability to consistently collect patient data.
Fast Company recently made an interesting connection between the development of the Internet in 90’s and the development of the Internet of Things now. They warned against seeing this innovation as something with a limited or techie-focused market; it will be something that everyone uses and eventually be integrated into everyday life. In healthcare, the opportunity can be used to understand how patients interact with these technologies so that doctors and patients can benefit from the use of their increasingly smart “things” and the data it will collect.