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Why Nailing Connectivity with Medical Devices is Critical for Digitized Healthcare Ecosystem

By Special Guest
Autumn Braswell, COO of Enterprise Solutions Organization and LinQ at iQor
June 28, 2018

The future of healthcare is in population health and precision medicine, as the proliferation of wearables and connected devices continues to grow. Rapidly evolving connected device technology in the healthcare industry is allowing patients to constantly monitor their health and receive real-time updates, reminders, and alerts as needed. Today, patients can outfit their homes with a myriad of technologies to collect data for their doctors, who can then use this data to make better informed decisions when treating and diagnosing patients in real-time.

The connected healthcare growth trajectory doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. According to a Frost and Sullivan Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) forecast, IoMT devices are expected to grow to somewhere between 20 and 30 billion by 2020. When looking ahead at the changing landscape, the combination of a growing IoMT market, along with the ubiquity and integration of a host of supporting online tools, will open the door for a new era of more intuitive and intelligent patient care.

With an aging baby boomer population, the very demographic that will benefit the most from IoMT devices tends to be the least tech savvy—making interoperability in healthcare more critical. The future of connected healthcare depends upon how well these technologies and devices will make their way into the patient’s home, and how well these devices interact with each other to create a seamless experience.

Device Onboarding: The Critical First Step
Nearly two-thirds of U.S. healthcare consumers have said that they want their digital experience to mirror their retail experiences. To realize the connected health market’s true potential, healthcare organizations, technology partners, and supporting customer service teams must first understand how new technologies can transform the patient care experience, and how the device works. Third-party findings from a survey commissioned by iQor discovered more than one-third of consumers report that support representatives lack knowledge about the device when dealing with a technical issue. From online platforms that enable remote telehealth visits to biometric monitoring sensors that track heart rates and blood pressure, each connected medical device within the home services its own unique purpose with its own value, and support teams must know how each functions.

Correct device onboarding is critical for the seamless integration between home networks. Onboarding both the user and the device – and determining how each device fits into the network – is one of the most important steps users can take to reduce frustrations in an increasingly complex IoT ecosystem. With sensor-based technologies that support pregnancy monitoring, for example, passive sensors need to be seamlessly aligned to collect important data points on the mother’s pregnancy, her health and the developing fetus. That data then needs to be routed the appropriate doctors.

To ensure a smooth integration, it is imperative to have a strong consumer support team who understands the role and environment within which these monitoring tools play in an increasingly digitized healthcare ecosystem. Specifically, they need to understand how these systems integrate with existing services, including medical facilities, home networks, and remote business locations. They also need to know what is required to support new levels of care facilitated by new and updated versions of connected devices.

Healthcare on Demand
Ideally, IoMT devices and supporting solutions aim to bridge the gaps between patients and providers, reducing complexity and enabling better access for healthcare consumers. Virtual home assistants, for example, can remind older patients about medications as well as provide medical advice from care providers. These devices can work in tandem with other connected devices, such as those that provide biometric monitoring.

On the journey toward a truly connected and optimized health ecosystem, it is imperative to correctly and accurately troubleshoot possible errors after all tools and devices have been onboarded and fully deployed. Systems that house diverse and sensitive patient data must be updated regularly to ensure they are functioning correctly and adhere to stringent compliance and patient privacy regulations.

Product and customer teams serve a pivotal role in determining the adoption rate of IoMT devices and should aim to make it as easy as possible for consumers to repair or return IoMT devices. If done well, innovations around IoMT devices and their connectivity in the home will ultimately pave the way toward a truly connected, more efficient and much more personalized healthcare ecosystem.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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