Welcome to the world of Connected Health, where smarter, faster, more accurate interactions between people, devices, data, analytics, and applications are transforming the way healthcare is delivered.
A convergence of challenges and enabling technologies are bringing change across the care spectrum—and the pace of change is accelerating.
While definitions vary, Connected Health is more than just wearable devices or one-on-one telehealth consults over distance. It is a web of intelligent communication and actionable information sharing with the intention of improving patient outcomes. It is enabled by a fabric of technology, in which people, processes, and devices are all capable of working together.
While Connected Health builds on decades of healthcare-specific experience with mobile health (mHealth) and telehealth solutions, it is propelled by a rapidly evolving Internet of Things (IoT) that connects intelligent sensors, devices, software, and networks across the Internet.
According to a report from MarketResearch.com, the Internet of Things in Healthcare is expected to reach $117 billion by 2020,1 while the mobile health segment continues to reshape care delivery, with an estimated growth of $59.15 billion by 2020.2
In essence, the promise of Connected Health is improved, simpler, more efficient communication and collaboration and the ability to make more-informed decisions, based on better information, presented at the right time and in the right context.
A mix of new and familiar challenges stand in the way of full realization of the Connected Health vision. These include: Legal, regulatory, and reimbursement hurdles, new kinds of security and liability issues, too much data, too little insight and lack of integration and interoperability.
At the same time the demand for Connected Health is being enabled by technological innovation. Including:
In a world of Connected Health, the role of technology is more critical than ever. CIOs and their teams must play an active role, collaborating with clinical, operations, and financial experts to identify opportunities and forge solutions. Although the scope of Connected Health can be daunting, there are ways organizations can start now to be part of it.
1. Start small and focus on ROI
Organizations can move forward to gain experience and success by starting small, often with what is already in place, looking for use cases that have a clear ROI centered on the patient.
2. Architect for analytics
In designing solutions, teams should begin where insight or intelligence is missing—and map the required data flow to fill the gap.
3. Secure by design
Security experts can help, first with a review of existing security practices, then by assessing the impact of new solutions. They can guide health organizations in designing and deploying a multifaceted security approach.
4. Select the right partners
In addition to leveraging open standards-based, technology and device-agnostic architectural frameworks to connect with best-in-class healthcare solutions, organizations should look for technology partners with firsthand experience in converging healthcare information technology and IoT, security, networking, and information management.
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The Path to Better, More Integrated Care and Health Outcomes
Connected Health is helping to define the future of care through the convergence of technology, healthcare, research and public policy—and the time to get in on it is now.