The healthcare industry is usually resistant to change, often for valid reasons. From security to general care, the industry is often reluctant to implement new technologies unless they’re proven to be useful, safe, and secure.
Mobile tools and technologies are being designed with the healthcare industry in mind, such as biosensors, wearables, and nearables. Whether worn on the wrist, head or body, each device is being created to make health tracking and monitoring easy, while still functional.
Each of these devices have one thing in common—the use of sensors. Sensors measure a patient’s health, allow for real-time data logging, and go beyond just diagnostics. Sensors educate doctors and nurses, as well as alert patients and help both parties prepare for possible health issues in the future. At a relatively low cost, sensors enable healthcare professionals to better diagnose disease and therefore tailor treatment to the individual patient’s needs.
We know that biosensors are a major disruption to your typical, traditional patient care, however implantables are the ones truly pushing the envelope. Embedded under the skin, each micro-device bridges the gap between people and technology. They are seamlessly (and invisibly) integrated into patients’ life, whereby their body is wirelessly and automatically monitored, and that data is transferred in real-time to physicians.
In addition to integrating devices and healthcare systems, the use of such technologies abolish the human element, which can often lead to non-compliance issues. Some may argue it takes away the human element, making it unsympathetic, however we humans are unfortunately the mistake-makers. We are “just human,” afterall. What the new technologies promote is a dialogue between the patient and the provider, and this could result in finding and treating health issues earlier.
Each implantable is customized to address specific health issues and can improve patient compliance. The list goes on. Smart pills, for example, monitor and wirelessly transmit biomedical data to the designated healthcare provider and alert patients when it’s time to take their medication. Another example, a small, dime-sized chip that enables physicians to monitor the patient’s vitals. Each a bit different, but essentially providing the same service, if you will.
Implantable solutions aren’t considered new. Take pacemakers, for example. They’ve been around for years. The “new” trend, however, is the push towards patients taking their health into their own hands. The idea is that the individual can actively manage their health issues, and we now have powerful, functional, and less expensive devices to aid them.
Because so many of the impantable technologies are so new, we still have years to go before they can be comfortably deployed. Not to mention the FDA approval process for each device, which can take years. There are many issues that will need to be worked out, including biocompatibility, concerns of malfunctions, security interference, the list goes on.
The potential for these devices is apparent to both the consumer and the healthcare industry, and the potential cost savings are exponential. Surely we can all agree that the new, minimally invasive technological solutions connecting patients and providers, once refined, will disrupt the healthcare industry, in a positive way.
Filed Under: M2M (machine to machine)