By Jayraj Nair, Head - IoT Practice, Infosys
In 1999, a seminal study was conducted by the Institute of Medicine that estimated up to 98,000 patients were dying in hospitals per year due to preventable medical errors. Since then additional studies have found that this number could be much higher, potentially greater than 400,000 patients according to a 2013 study in the Journal of Patient Safety.
There are many reasons cited for these frightening statistics, such as communication errors between healthcare providers, failures in following complex treatment guidelines, and errors in diagnostic evaluation of patients, just to highlight a few.
The growth and advancement of the Internet of Things (IoT) has created many potential opportunities to provide solutions to these and other issues, but there are many healthcare industry challenges to overcome in order to bring practical solutions to this market. In light of these challenges, Infosys has forged partnerships with RTI, PTC and Massachusetts General Hospital MD PnP to launch the Connected Care test bed under the Industrial Internet Consortium.
Recently approved by the Industrial Internet Consortium, this test bed will showcase new IoT solution models for the healthcare industry. One example where we see tremendous potential is the application of IoT solutions to remotely monitor patients with chronic conditions. With the right connected tools, millions of patients who are afflicted with chronic conditions can be monitored at home to predict and prevent adverse health events, thus reducing the likelihood of hospital readmission.
This is only one example of many potential solutions utilizing IoT in healthcare. Consider some other issues facing the healthcare industry:
- Up to 90 percent of hospital re-admissions for chronic diseases involve preventable issues. In addition, hospitals can now be penalized under insurance plans and Medicare rules for certain re-admissions.
- A large aging society worldwide is coupled with a rise in chronic diseases, and this will require technology-based solutions to decrease costs and reduce pressure on limited healthcare resources.
- It is estimated that approximately 50 percent of prescribed medications are not taken as directed.
- Medical device manufacturers engineer proprietary solutions for connected devices making it difficult and expensive for healthcare providers to solve interoperability challenges in collecting and analyzing patient data.
Bringing smart IoT solutions to these complex problems will bring greater efficiencies to our overburdened healthcare system and create new value propositions to device manufacturers, healthcare providers, and the patients themselves. Imagine being able to devote our emergency personnel to true emergencies, rather than being burdened with responding to preventable events. Imagine providing patients with chronic conditions the opportunity to lead safer, more dignified lives. Imagine a hospital where the connected device ecosystem prevents mistakes that could cause patients serious harm. This is the vision of the Connected Care test bed, bringing the wide-ranging possibilities of IoT into the world of healthcare.