Medical technology has evolved significantly over the last few decades and is predicted to have a profound positive impact on people’s lifestyle and longevity. This improvement has come at a steep financial cost since high-end care costs a lot more.
In addition, as the demographics transition to a growing middle class – with global awareness – and elderly population, demands placed on the healthcare system are causing it to crack under immense workload and financial pressure. This is a global phenomenon where different countries are being impacted to varying degree.
McKinsey(1) has defined “Human Health & Fitness” as one of the nine settings which will have the biggest impact from “Internet-of-things (IOT)” technology implementation. It predicts that the value of improved health of chronic disease patients through remote monitoring could be as much as $1.1 trillion per year in 2025. IOT will enable new business models and / or transform current business processes.
Current State of Affairs
Medical care cost inflation is currently on a non-sustainable financial trajectory primarily due to:
Demographic composition becoming top-heavy due to longer life expectancy with improvements in medical care and lifestyle choices.
Advances in medical science and technology leading to state-of-the-art devices, interventions and medications leading to longevity but at a much higher price point.
Increased awareness due to prevalence of internet and social media; patients are now familiar with the state-of-art treatments and are demanding the same. This aspect is especially acute where an intermediary (insurance, employer, government) is involved in terms of payments to the health providers.
Fragmentation and discontinuity in patient care resulting in institutional inefficiencies.
The current healthcare system is stigmatized with inequitable access and uneven distribution of quality.
Chronically ill patients are subject to fixed-interval physician appointments, which do not cater to any intermediate exacerbations thus resulting in expensive and at times inefficient care in the emergency and / or intensive care units.
Healthcare takes up a major part of any government's budget. This is likely to go up further based on current demographics, expensive medical technology breakthroughs, consumer awareness and the ever-increasing utilization by the elderly patients with chronic illnesses, that are living longer and demanding the best care possible, thus consuming around 75% of healthcare expenditures.
We are working on a proposition to help alleviate some of the pressures – bed occupancy and in-hospital expense – by integrating technology (sensors, Wi-Fi, 4G, etc.) with cognitive research (artificial intelligence, etc.) in order to develop and implement a proactive diagnosis framework / system that will monitor in real-time vitals of these chronically ill patients in order to provide comprehensive healthcare services outside a typical hospital and in the familiar environment of one’s home. This data will be available to the responsible physicians in order to provide timely and pertinent medical advice, thereby decreasing their average hospital stay. These services can later be expanded to cover chronic care and long term rehab.
Intent is to apply the “Internet of things(1)” framework to the field of medicine, focusing on patient well-being, productivity improvements leading to cost reductions, etc. This project is more about systems integration and operational execution than technological breakthrough; technology acts as an enabler.