Market Updates

Connectivity in Healthcare

January, 2019

New Technologies: Solving Problems or Raising Challenges


There have been a number of significant breakthroughs in medical science in the recent past - from ground-breaking surgeries to the latest biomedical technology. Artificial intelligence, IoT, cybersecurity, disaster preparedness and the real-world patient experience are some of the prime trends.

PATIENT DATA MANAGEMENT

Almost half of the healthcare vendors are expected to devote resources by 2019 to assist and manage healthcare data from retrieving, distributing, and analysing patient information for use across the value chain. The real time evolving global patient data is providing the industry with the ability to better evaluate their prevailing and emerging medications and treatments. This evidence of analysed data is expected to support target patients, with the choice to be benefited from the right medications or can reject those treatments which are proved to be detrimental.

PATIENT DATA ANALYSIS

The increase in the number of reflexive biometric and digital tracking technologies, enhanced data analysis tools and associated inventions renovate generated patient data/information into a worthwhile resource. More than a quarter of patient/medical data is expected to be handled, shared, and collected by the patients themselves for the healthcare systems by 2025. Hence, this step is expected to empower a custom-made relationship with the healthcare professionals and patients for sustainable treatment in the future.

SMARTPHONE APPLICATIONS AMONGST PATIENTS

Digital mobile rendezvous amongst patients, healthcare professionals, and medical vendors is expected to increase by 50% in the next 2 years, thus refining quality of patient treatments and medical adherence. User-friendly healthcare apps are expected to make sure that both patients and healthcare professionals will be at ease while communicating via their smartphones for treatments and retrieving medical records. This will foreseeably connect the communication gaps and empower information alleyways.

HEALTHCARE IoT

The propagation of IoT empowered asset tracing and inventory management are expected to grow at a nearly double the present proportion by 2020. This increase in adoption will not only upsurge hospital operational competence, patient safety, and staff gratification, but also will provide back-up while decision making. The healthcare IoT enabled podiums access and assimilate medical data to acquire understandings on solution processes such as operations, assets, tracking, and HR management.

HEALTHCARE ROBOTICS

Technology improvements in robotics enables disposition of robots to execute time consuming tasks, decrease labour size, avert faults to improve patient security, and endure business processes. Healthcare robotics are currently being applied in supply chain management, remote patient monitoring and surgeries, clinical applications and other medical conditions.

ROLE OF BLOCKCHAIN IN HEALTHCARE

With hospital executives, payers and others considering or deploying blockchain solutions, innovators recognize this technology has great potential in healthcare. Blockchain use-cases diversify into anti-counterfeiting, health data marketplaces and other areas for operations management and patient identity. In 2018, we can expect to hear a lot more about blockchain’s role in health-focused artificial intelligence applications, precision medicine and genomics.

EMPATHETIC INTERFACES IN HEATHCARE

Advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Voice and related technologies accelerate the development of technologies that are more responsive, empathetic and human-like, which benefits elder care, mental health and other areas.

In 2017, empathetic interfaces made significant leaps forward, as chatbots, robotics and artificial intelligence have led to the creation of truly responsive interfaces that patients are beginning to trust and rely on.In 2018, we will see empathetic interfaces expand across a range of areas, including depression, aging, providing companionship to older adults and even rehabilitation.

HEALTHCARE AI

Nearly 20 to 40 percent of healthcare and life science organizations will achieve productivity gains through cognitive and AI adoption. The introduction of applications with embedded cognitive/AI technologies have increased in IT adoption.

Challenges Ahead


INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF FUTURE LAWSUITS

Class-action lawsuits against medical device manufacturer for negligence resulting in the death of patients connected to the networked medical devices while hospitalized will be more common than anticipated. This will be precipitated by the IoT adoption in healthcare vertical.

INCREASING DEMAND IN BACK OFFICE RESOURCES

The overwhelming data management requirements and budget constraints will push organizations towards the BPaaS (Business Process as a service) vendors to integrate, manage, analyse and act on the hidden insights in the data.

REGULATORY CHALLENGES

Strict mandates are often cited as one of the absolutely primary reasons for the lack of ability to adapt to new technologies in health, but realistically, it makes sense that these safeguards be in place. When decisions and actions mean the difference between life and death, physicians and other caregivers are not allowed, or often willing, to deliver telemedicine services across state lines, for fear of interference.

Lagging reimbursement policies have also slowed telehealth adoption and innovation. Different states have various standards by which their Medicaid programs will reimburse for telehealth expenses - There is also no single widely accepted standard for private payers and patients, who often need to seek prior approval.

INTEROPERABILITY AND INTREGRATION ISSUES

Interoperability is when multiple devices, databases and programmes are able to interact across organizational and systemic boundaries. This allows different technologies and resources to communicate, interact, and react according to information received, without human intervention being necessary.

With Connected Health, longstanding issues of healthcare IT interoperability and integration are exacerbated. Hospitals now face the prospect of more sensors, devices, gateways, controllers, routers and databases—all with their own protocols.

  • Developing and supporting solutions for integration with a HIS is not a core competency of medical device manufacturers and has the potential of wasting core resources in failed attempts in tackling them. Mobile and cloud enablement requirements make this a bigger issue.

  • New devices often require a customized integration effort, involving valuable development resources.

  • Post-sale custom interface development for device integration requires additional verification and validation to ensure solution accuracy and completeness. This increases the total cost of device ownership for HDOs, making their purchase less attractive.


MHEALTH - NEW EPITOME OF HEALTHCARE CONNECTIVITY

The mHealth market is growing at an exponential pace with numerous new participants and occupants developing a tranche of new products and services. Hence, classifications of the market differ extensively depending on the mechanisms and infrastructures which are involved. While the mHealth market is expected to witness significant growth, approximates of the extent of this growth fluctuate timely. There are 4 principal benefactors of mHealth technologies: Mobile Operators, Device Vendors, Content Developers, and Healthcare Providers.

TRENDS

  • Better Acceptance of mHealth as Primary Source of Information: More than 27% of the population in the US use mHealth apps as their first source of health information with more than 35% of the millennials (those born between 1982 and 2000) using the same. This is expected to further flourish as majority of the US population turn to their smartphones for everything - from education to meditation to checking their EMR.

  • Real-time Health Tracking via eHealth Apps: While various health conscious people prefer tracking apps such as Fitbit to measure health data, latest devices are even more urbane. Johns Hopkins Hospital is presently conducting a study, which shall use smartphone technology to determine causes for epileptic seizures. Moreover, Stanford University lately introduced the Apple Heart Study, that couples the Apple Watch with an mHealth app to collate data on uneven heart rhythms for the patients suffering from atrial fibrillation. eHealth apps including built-in sensors in smartphones can be used to spot patients’ activities. This data would be significant for the family members, who are supporting elderly loved ones.

  • HIPAA Compliance: HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is the centralized law, which shields consumers’ health data. HIPAA Compliance is of supreme importance for creators of mHealth software. Hence, the patient data or EMR should be accurately encoded if an mHealth device or app gathers and transfers PHI (Private Health Information). The US Department of Health and Human Services simplify the process by offering federal rules for mHealth app creators on becoming HIPPA compliant.

  • Medication Monitoring: According to a study, doctors generally inscribe more than 3.5 billion prescriptions per year and almost 80% patients leave with at least one prescription while visiting a physician. Almost half of those patients fail to follow what is prescribed for them, costing the healthcare system more than $200 billion in North America per year. mHealth apps can become the saviour by conveying reminders to patients related to the their prescriptions (intake of medicine or prescription renewal).

  • Digital Therapeutics: The most effective mHealth apps are user friendly, faster to learn, and offer information which is inspiring and educational. These mHealth apps are supported with and structures like graphs and charts, along with videos, games, quizzes which can be helpful for the social community of like-minded patients.


INDUSTRY ACTIVITIES

  • More than 250 teachers in the UK are going to test an mHealth app designed to guide them in talking to students about mental health issues.

  • In August 2018, Cerner collaborated with Duke Clinical Research Institute to develop an mHealth app to determine the chances of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).

  • In August 2018, Geisinger Health launched two mHealth apps designed to tap into EHR data to improve care management and medication adherence.

  • In July 2018, the California Medical Board launched an mHealth app to get instant updates on their doctors' license status, including disciplinary issues and new specialties.

  • In June 2018, the National Institutes of Health unveiled an mHealth app offering information and resources on herbs and herbal supplements.

  • In May 2018, Fitbit launched several new mobile health apps for its Ionic and Versa smartwatches.

  • In April 2018, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and University of Massachusetts Medical School developed an mHealth app known as Lifeline4Moms, designed as a resource for obstetricians and other care providers in identifying perinatal depression.

  • In February 2018, Wyoming’s Department of Health launched a personalized mHealth app designed to connect families in the state with appropriate healthcare resources.


– Victor Mukherjee,
AM (Healthcare),
Infoholic Research