The Internet of Things (IoT) is widely heralded as the next big thing and healthcare organizations, like all other sectors, cannot afford to get left behind on IoT. To achieve the integration, they must either adapt rapidly and seize competitive advantage, or risk losing market share and revenue to early adopting organizations. The fundamentals of any healthcare organization’s IoT strategy can be boiled down to four sequential areas of focus, or the four As of IoT: Access, Aggregation, Analysis, and Artificial Intelligence.
Companies can perform multi-tiered analysis once they are equipped with a rich repository of data to determine appropriate actions. Analysis can be performed on multiple levels like individual patient, speciality/specific, internal quality reporting, CMS/payer reporting (MIPS, pay-for-performance), population health and precision medicine. There are several potential actions that the organization can trigger based on IoT data.
But how to achieve this? Take, for example, a simple clinical alert that could entail a patient with a cardiac monitor who has a periodic arrhythmia, and a cardiologist needs to follow the patient closely. In this scenario, the health system needs to identify when an abnormal cardiac reading is registered and also determine the best mechanism for alerting the cardiologist and the PCP. How does the alert go? Into the EMR? A pager? A fax? Is this information critical and the doctor needs it right away or just when they next see the patient? If critical, it may be a candidate for edge analytics. Will there be different responses at different clinical thresholds?
Another example can be a population, where IoT data feeds can be used to help identify trends and contributing factors relating to chronic disease predictors in specific cadres. In such cases, organizations must determine how to incorporate the diverse data points as smart scale readings, refrigerator contents, daily steps, and blood glucose levels. They should then also seek how to use them to drive incentive programs, refine risk assessments, and inform care management outreach. There is also the issue of how new science will be continually incorporated into action plans on an on-going basis.