The Internet of Things―an environment in which devices are connected and can transfer data over a network―is now set to impact MedTech with its capabilities. With the growing number of connected devices and the big data generated out of these, companies are now trying to be more proactive in patient health management through the application of advanced analytics. Recently, many companies have shown their growing commitment in this field with an increasing number of partnerships between medical device companies and IT giants. One such example is Philips Healthcare.
Philips Healthcare has recently partnered with Amazon Web Services―one of the leading players in big data and analytics. The partners have developed a digital suite of connected devices called Philips' HealthSuite digital platform. This platform is connected to and supports millions of apps, medical device systems, sensors and electronic medical records. Through this suite, data captured from these end point systems get aggregated and analyzed to create actionable insights on health parameters. These actionable insights like warning signs for heart attack or stroke, possible occurrence of hypo- or hyperglycemia, are of immense utility to hospitals, doctors, insurance providers and patients. With the availability of such data, the duration of hospital stays can be reduced with better proactivity and fewer cases of emergencies. It can also lower the overall number of hospitalizations in the long run.
Philips also launched smart end-user devices including a smart watch, a blood pressure cuff, a scale, and a thermometer, which are also based on Health Suite. The long-term vision is to use the learning from big data to create smarter monitoring and alert devices, like smart baby monitors. These smart alert systems can alert patients and doctors about a potential threat in future.
With the increasing burden of diabetes in developed and developing countries, there is an urgent need to lead healthier and smarter lifestyles. In order to meet this unmet need, Philips and Salesforce developed a digital health platform for diabetes patients that includes a patient app and an online community. The digital platform captures all diabetes-related patient metrics from glucometers, activity trackers, and electronic medical records. Patients can also input their health-related statistics like diet, level of physical activity, and insulin use. This platform containing the history of patient activity is accessible via smartphone or tablet apps to different healthcare providers. Based on patient profile, healthcare providers can alert patients if they are outside of their limits. They can also contact patients through the platform. With this, patients can exercise better control of their diseases.
So, with the emerging era of the Internet of Things and the application of advanced analytics, patient care can be managed with better proactiveness and control. For MedTech companies―particularly those operating in the diagnostics segment―this means that they need to start thinking about the entire continuum of patient care, and how their devices fit into the bigger picture. Partnering their device solutions with apps and other IT products could give them a competitive advantage going forward.
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